“God’s first language is silence.” (St. John of the Cross) To become fathers like God the Father, to become like God, we must know God; to know God we must be able to communicate with Him, and to communicate with Him we must speak His language: the language of silence.
To speak with God demands that we humble ourselves before God. As the psalmist, speaking for God, states, “Sacrifice and holocausts You do not desire, but an open ear.” (Psalm 39:6) Silently listening to God is the sacrifice of the heart, a sacrifice of our pride – for silence silences our pride, rendering the person capable of hearing God.
Many of us, being men, are doers. We like to be in the driver’s seat – busying ourselves with the task at hand. But to be effective leaders we must first be good followers; to be effective teachers we must first be good listeners. Sometimes it’s as though we are on a train going a billion miles an hour and to put the brakes on is more work than entering into silence itself. But we must put the brakes on – often – if we don’t want to derail our lives.
Our Lord confirms that if we desire to build a great family, our domestic church, we must first listen to him, “Every one who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon rock.. it did not fall because it had been founded upon the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25) If we listen to Christ, if we enter into silence, he will direct us, granting us success in our vocation.
To hear the Word demands silence, and the language of silence poses a great challenge to the father. But, if a father desires to discover his purpose and meaning, if he desires for his children to become great and holy,
he will sacrifice the voices of the world, more and more, to obtain the great gift of silence. Indeed sacrifice is demanded of the one who desires to hear the voice of God.
One reason men decline God’s invitation to silence is due to a lack of deep interior trust in God. This distrust creates a fundamental disquiet in the soul, convincing many men that God will not speak, or that they will not hear. Man therefore, turns to other, more stimulating ways to access what he believes is God’s message.
But often, by seeking more stimulating ways to “hear God’s voice” we deflect God’s message. Consider that“the Word of God came to John in the desert” (see Luke 3:2) or that God spoke to Isaiah not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but in a gentle whisper. (See 1Kings 19:12). Jesus often went into the mountains, into the silence to hear His Father.
A man who decides to be silent before God is a man who waits upon his Father, trusting with faith that God will direct his life’s course. To begin to understand our purpose, our meaning, our call to greatness we must be courageous enough to enter the silence. Satan is bent on keeping us from the silence, for in the silence we will receive our mission. We will learn how to become a great father – a great man.