There is a longing, a yearning, and an aching within each of us. It comes in spurts. It’s always there just beneath the surface of our feelings, whether we’re aware of it or not.
We long for happiness, peace in our souls and in the world. We long for connection with others, for loving relationships, for freedom and security.
At the heart of our longing perhaps, is a deeper longing, a deeper desire: we long for God; not just to know our Creator intellectually but to experience him, to know we are connected with the source of our being, that he is there guiding us, loving us, opening our hearts to love and life.
The funny thing is we are already connected with God. We just often aren’t aware of it or don’t believe.
But the truth is God is always there. He promised he would bury himself in our hearts and give us his wisdom. He promised his presence would dwell within us. And there are moments each of us can probably point to in our lives when we noticed that presence. It comes upon us as a felt sense of a higher power assuring us, encouraging us, and loving us in the nitty-gritty of our life.
The way to connect with God, with the awareness of God’s presence in us is through silence. There is a silence within each of us beyond words or thought, into which the world cannot intrude. There is an ancient peace we carry in our heart and have not lost. In the silence we hear a voice, a whisper of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we wonder if it’s our voice or God’s. If it is a loving voice, a voice of peace and encouragement, we can trust it is God’s because God is love and a loving God speaks only with words of love. If it’s a condemning voice, an angry or judgmental voice, we can rest assure it is not the God of love and then we can listen more deeply in the silence to hear the voice within us that has no voice, just a simple loving presence.
While we cannot force God to speak to us, just like we can’t force another person to communicate with us, we can create the environment into which that communication can take place. God’s language, says Mother Teresa is silence. By becoming quiet, entering into the silence we create the space where God can touch our holy longing, connect, communicate and speak to us.
Someone once asked Mother Teresa what she did each day in the silent hour-long meditation with which she began the day. Her answer was simple:
I look at God.
God looks at me.
And we are very happy.
brian j plachta
I never got that kiss with Teresa. But as I reflect on that long-ago night, I realize Sister Carmella shared two pieces of wisdom I’ll never forget: to leave room for Jesus and the healing power of a smile.