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Many times as I sit here to write a few words of encouragement words fail me. Most often, beloved, it is best to be silent.

Does this mean that we should keep quiet regarding the Gospel of Christ? God forbid! But just because we are silent does not have to mean that we are not preaching the word. Would any of us dare to say that the hesychasts - those who practice prayerful silence - are not preaching the Gospel? I dare say that there are many who do day so, yet they are wrong, for if they were correct, why would so many flee the world to join them in the dessert or seek them out for counsel and healing? Why are so many number among the saints having been glorified by God?

Amidst all the lies and false accusations our Lord Christ Himself kept quiet. Why? Because of the hardness of the hearts of those who lied and falsely accused Him. Their pride blinded them so that they could not recognize Him Who stood before them. They loved the darkness of their own conceit so that they could not see the Light. They were so entrenched in their own false opinions that they could not recognize the Truth incarnate before them.

Silence is golden.

Christ often went off alone to pray. Why? To give us an example; to make time for quiet, for in the quiet we encounter God.

We are constantly surrounded by noise. This is a horrible, potent and effective temptation. Noise confuses us. It fills our senses and minds with disinformation, lies and deceptions and distractions, so that we think that we know, yet we are deceived.

Noise is also addicting. How often do people leave the television on in the background just to escape the silence? Some cannot sleep without music or background noise. Silence compels us to face ourselves, something which most people wish to avoid, as we can feel as if we are naked, exposed. This is unpleasant because of our sins. Sin loves darkness. The Truth is Light.

There is nothing more precious than repentance, and repentance is best wrought in silence. Did not the prodigal son come to his senses after having been abandoned by his friends and finding himself alone with the swine? It was in the silence that he understood where he came from, how far he had fallen, and resolved to return to his Father, not as a son, but as a servant. See the humility. One cannot repent without humility. Many cannot repent for they will not accept how far they have fallen, will not humble themselves and will not return to God.

Repentance is not something disconsolate, for by it we find true consolation. In silence the humble, repentant soul finds not only comfort, but also healing and enlightenment. A truly repentant soul abides in the bosom of God, is filled with divine grace, truth and light. It is the repentant soul born in silence that proclaims the Gospel of Christ: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!

Fr. Stephen

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