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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Doors of Silence

The portal into deep silence requires silencing of memories and curiosity. This is because when we enter into a sacred place, we must set aside worldly cares. It is not that the world holds us back—for indeed, God created the world to reveal his glory. But it is the case that we put the secular before the sacred and pay homage to things that are quite beneath our dignity. To silence oneself before the sacred is to allow God to raise oneself up from the concerns that are below so that we might receive His love from above. We need to unbind ourselves from things and people who bog us down so that we can raise those we love to God even as He lifts up our hearts. In this deep silence, the most noble desires of the heart, even as they die, are raised up reordered with new life, with undying joy.

This rule seems harsh—but on the Cross Jesus gave up His own Mother to achieve our salvation and the glory of the Father. Renunciation and self-denial enters this place of invincible love and keeps us there. The Cross is the portal, the threshold into this deep silence—a stillness in which God communicates His love in such a way that not only our own life but the whole world is transformed.

In the face of all the political rancor of our time, the temptation is to believe the cultural powers and political forces have the upper hand. If people unleash aggression against their own bodies, their own sexuality, their very gender, we should not be surprised that they will also act with irrational hostility toward their own institutions, countries and even the Church. If there are such people in those the world, we should never be scandalized to find them in the Church as well. Yet there is something more powerful than the lure of power, riches and honor. A still small voice rings out above the cacophony of anxious efforts to control humble humanity and even the Church. Those who let this voice into their hearts know a freedom that cannot be oppressed, that no amount of calculation can predict or control. Under the silence of the Cross one discovers how to welcome this irresistible truth—for the renunciation that love makes goes beyond the hostility of the heart.

This renunciation is not heartless or cold. It is tender and painful and beautiful. It tastes that sacred sorrow that alone finds eternal beatitude. The love of Mary for her Son and of her Son for his Mother was not diminished by this letting go—instead, their love for one another bore fruit for the whole world. So it is with us when we subordinate all our other relationships to the plan of God for our lives. We discover a deeper silence - a place of welcome and hospitality toward God in our hearts, a sacred place that aches in great stillness for His coming. Those who find this place have entered into the deepest truth about being a man before God—about being male and female before Him. By giving the Lord the first fruits of our attention and devotion, He unleashes power in our family to pour out His love in ways we otherwise could never imagined.

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