On Sunday, I talked about the importance of practicing silence. We heard the story of Elijah walking forty days to Mt. Horeb, waking from sleep in a cave on the mountain, and hearing a voice that told him that God was about to show up. So Elijah went outside his cave and waited for God to speak. As it turned out, God spoke in an unexpected way: from the sound of sheer silence.

Mother Teresa, who died 19 years ago, was known to the world for her selfless work among the poorest of the poor. She has also become known for her practices of silence that gave her the energy and vision to sustain a life of compassion.

Here are some of the things Mother Teresa wrote about silence:

  • In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.
  • In silence we will find new energy and true unity. Silence gives us a new outlook on everything.
  • The essential thing is not what we say but what God says to us and through us… there God will speak to our soul, and there we will hear God’s voice.
  • Listen in silence because if your heart is full of other things you cannot hear the voice of God. But when you have listened to the voice of God in the stillness of your heart, then your heart is filled with God.
  • In nature we find silence — the trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence.
  • The contemplatives and ascetics of all ages and religions have sought God in the silence and solitude of the desert, forest, and mountains. Jesus himself spent forty days in the desert and the mountains, communing for long hours with God in the silence of the night.
  • We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God, together as a community as well as personally; to be alone with God — not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything — to dwell lovingly in God’s presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless.
  • Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere — in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals.

  —Excerpted from the book In the Heart of the World (1997, New World Library), edited for gender-inclusive language.

I invite you to ponder these words this week and allow for some time of silence so that you may more deeply encounter God wherever you are.

Aloha nui to all,

Kahu Alan Akana

“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.

Join us at 10:30 on Sunday mornings at 3289 Poipu Road in Koloa to hear a full sermon by Kahu Akana.