In late summer, my husband and I traveled to New Mexico. One evening we arrived early for our dinner reservation near Chimayo, so we followed road signs into the nearby hills to an overlook for Santa Cruz Reservoir. We pulled into a parking spot and I got out of the car to look around.
Walking up a footpath, I topped a low mound, and entered the deepest, most tangible silence I have ever experienced. Below me lay an azure lake. Large boats moved across the water in silence. I don’t know how long I stood there, but a deep peace filled me that has remained.
Following this experience, I began to seek God in silence. I became intentional about noticing the subtle inner movements of the Spirit, and moved from a place of hearing (through words) to the place of discernment (in the silence of my heart).
Today’s New Testament reading is a prayer of thanksgiving for the Philippian church. St. Paul prays that their “love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value.” For Paul, discernment is a “whole body experience” to which we bring all the love, strength, desire, and imagination we can muster.
Reflect: What does it mean to “discern what is of value?” How would doing so alter your priorities?
Journal: Do you truly want to hear God? What feelings does that thought stir in you? Write your insights.
Practice: Walk through your home and notice the differing qualities of silence as you move from room to room. Choose a place to spend three to five minutes in silence. Over the next few weeks, try to develop a practice of silence.