Monday, April 12, 2010

A Soul of Silence

"A praise of glory is a soul of silence that remains like a lyre under the mysterious touch of the Holy Spirit so that he may draw from it divine harmonies; it knows that suffering is a string that produces still more beautiful sounds, so it loves to see this string on its instruments that it may more delightfully move the Heart of its God."

This is one of Elizabeth's sentiments I like to ponder.  Her musical soul shines brightly on the choice of words and the lyrical flow one can glean from it.  But the meaning is even more beautiful.  In Elizabeth's vocabulary, silence means total surrender of one's being to God.  It is a posture of listening, like a coiled spring, only to leap into action when the time is right.  Silence is another word for a single-heart, a single-eye, which sees God's fingerprint in everything.  Elizabeth sees silence as the soul's passivity under the hand of God, who purifies, creates, and transforms.  And yet, this passive attitude is animated by faith, kept alive by love and is moved to endure when called upon to suffer.  In a paradoxical way, it is also active.  There is more to silence than the absence of words.  One can be physically separated from material place and goods, and yet not be internally detached from many and conflicting desires.  It's energy is scattered and cannot be the lyre so finely tuned capable of producing beautiful sounds at the hands of the Divine Artist.
This is Elizabeth's special mission in the Church.  This is a special grace even for a Carmelite.  But she calls us to strive for it.  She calls us to desire it and to pray for the grace to be given it.  Our part is to dispose ourselves to receive it, to prepare the ground, so to speak.  With God's grace it is possible.

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