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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Silence and the Strength of God

For Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity, silence is two activities at once. On the one hand, silence is the work of the soul dying to itself, forgetting itself, renouncing all that is not God through the recollection of all of one's thoughts and passions until one's whole being is ordered to God. Keeping silence in these ways is a difficult task but those who take up this discipline discover it as a source of strength. On the other hand silence is the work of God drawing the soul. He is the source of all true silence and He has buried Himself in us. In Him alone does one bury oneself when one has died to oneself. He leads the soul into a hidden solitude, covering it under the shadow of His power and glory. The progress of the soul into this silence is not grasping and forceful, but instead one of a wholly simple and loving movement. Only a simple loving movement can enter into the loving simplicity of the Holy Trinity. Such is contemplative prayer—love led faith into a communion of love, light and life. Here, in this great silence, when the soul is finally vulnerable in its faith and ready to surrender, there are deep undercurrents in the love of God that can suddenly take it. From the outside, this Divine Impact appears to be certain disaster. From within, the soul has been transforms and adheres to God with a strength that nothing, not even death, can overcome. In the very brokenness of our lives and our hearts, a new creation springs and a peace is given that this world cannot give.

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