I’ve been re-reading a paperback from the 1970s, Inward Stillness by George Maloney, a Jesuit. For Maloney, God’s silence is not an illusion nor a temporary state. Nor is it even something to be mourned: it is the way of God in this world. Not an empty silence, but a silence filled only with one Word.
It is the struggle in faith to accept the silent love of the indwelling God… When we in silence hear God’s silence through faith, we come into the presence of a dynamic God, acting and loving within us. (19)
God wasn’t silent at a church I used to go to – not for the others there. God had something to say about everything. But I don’t know how much they heard God in the silence.
I am not good at silence, and so many of the spiritual masters emphasise it. I’m addicted to the radio, to iTunes, to keeping the silence at bay. Maloney would say that when I do this, I am keeping God at bay.
But this idea that silence is the mode of God’s work in the world…
I can’t imagine Paul saying that, or even Jesus. I can imagine Qoheleth saying it, and Job, until God shows up.
I need to understand better what Maloney means, but his words read wise to me, and I know that he is right that cultivating silence is good for the spirit; if it doesn’t allow us to hear God silence, it may allow us to hear God’s voice.