Fr John’s Reflection – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 31st January

Listening to silence

In a world which seeks to make us busy, many opinions can be thrown us on a daily basis. I am often taken from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep we listen to many different voices. These voices can often seem to be contradictory and pull us in different directions at the same time. In fact, it is this dis-ease which can not only affect our mental health but our physical health as well. If we try to please all the different voices, we find ourselves torn apart.

This is the importance of finding a place where we can listen to the silence within. This is not easy because we have often been taught that unless we are actively doing something, we are not worthwhile. Thus, we plunge ourselves into activity so that we can prove that we have purpose and meaning. It seeks to crowd out the empty spaces within us by having no spare time to be with ourselves. We don’t want to be seen to be wasting time doing nothing.

Yet it is this encounter with no-thing that is at the very heart of our prayer. It calls us to encounter our true self which is more than the things we do or the successes we achieve. The place where we have been loved into being. This silent place may seem to be a “waste of time”, but it may be the most productive place that we can encounter in each day. By allowing our prayer to draw us into a silence of being present to this moment we seek to integrate our day and become whole. Rather than being fragmented, we listen to the inner voice which brings healing and strength.

The need to be restored in prayer is essential as it brings to notice what heals us and brings wholeness. It allows us to be truly ourselves before God and each other. This restoration allows a balance which sees that in being present to no-thing we become aware of how God is present in all things. 

Fr. John Armstrong