Saturday, July 21, 2012

“In silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns the hidden truths of Scripture.”

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.”  - Mother Teresa

(Gospel text: Mt 12:14-21)
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus
to put him to death.

When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Many people followed him, and he cured them all,
but he warned them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

Jesus had stirred up a hornets’ nest. The Pharisees were already feeling threatened by the way he had challenged their teachings, and Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath was the last straw. They started looking for a way to get rid of him. So what did Jesus do? He left that area and continued his ministry quietly, waiting for the storm to blow over.

While this may seem merely like avoiding conflict, Jesus was showing the discernment that characterizes the servant of God described in Isaiah’s prophecy. Jesus chose not to contend directly with his opponents. He had the judgment to know when to engage them in an argument and when to stay quiet and out of sight. In this case, by retreating from the controversy even for a short time, Jesus was able to continue ministering and winning people over. He sensed that the time had not yet come for an open confrontation.

Discernment can be a tricky process. Our passions or fears can be strong enough to push us in the wrong direction. Circumstances can back us into a corner and make us think that there is only one way out. When we face hostility, it’s only natural to want to strike back. When we feel afraid, it’s only natural to want to run. But with practice, we can get in the habit of stopping to pray in critical moments and asking the Holy Spirit to help us make the wisest move in our situation. As we master our passions in this way, we can become a valuable instrument in the Lord’s hands.

Today is a good day to begin! As you go through your day, stop and ask the Holy Spirit whether you’re on the right track. When faced with a choice, pause to pray first. Take a deep breath and say: “Come, Holy Spirit” before you react to a tense situation. Then, when you feel a nudge in a certain direction, try it out—especially if that prompting gives you a sense of peace or confidence in God. Take that first step toward developing the gift and habit of discernment.

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