In Psalm 131, we find the psalmist in a quiet mood; there is nothing but quietness and confidence: “I have calmed and quieted my soul … hope in the Lord from this time on and forevermore.”
Brother Roger of Taize reminds us that at times prayer becomes silent. Peaceful communion with God can do without words. “I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother.”
When I travelled to the village of Taize, in France, it was late December. This time of year always reminds me of that holy place. Then it was windy and snowing faintly, then raining. I could hear the rain lash the windows of my small room.
“Sometimes we are apparently silent, and yet we have great discussions within, struggling with imaginary partners or with ourselves,” Brother Roger observed. “Calming our souls requires a kind of simplicity.”
The Psalmist located this simplicity: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.”
And then there are these words from Brother Roger: “Silence means recognizing that my worries can’t do much. Silence means leaving to God what is beyond my reach and capacity. A moment of silence, even very short, is like a holy stop, a sabbatical rest, a truce of worries.”
Gary Percesepe is an editor at New World Writing.