A few weeks ago, I was having coffee with a friend and the topic of evangelization arose. The question was, how do we help people get to know Jesus Christ, whom they cannot see? It’s a difficult question. If I wanted to introduce two friends, I would have the two gather for coffee and chat. Or, perhaps, I would request their presence at an event of some sort.
So I asked this friend how he met his wife and how they fell in love. He sat back in his chair, took a sip of his coffee and said one word: “silence.” He informed me that when they first met, they were at a party with many other people and the usual banter. However, to get to know her, he needed a much quieter venue, free from distractions, free from other demands on their attention. So, he invited her to join him out on the back patio, which was vacant due to the cooler fall weather. He brought her out some tea to stay warm, and the two simply talked, quietly. He knew he needed the silence so as to focus on her. And therein lies the key for all of us to get to know Jesus Christ.
To hear someone, especially Jesus, we need to find times of silence. Though, we must understand silence in a broad sense. Silence, not only of the ears, but silence of the mind, silence of the heart, silence of the soul. To choose this type of silence can be both difficult and intimidating. We have become accustomed to having noise in our lives. I know for myself that I enjoy having music in the car immediately. I enjoy having the radio on at home. I even enjoy reading books and periodicals. I need to choose to find times where I create silence for the purpose of paying attention to Jesus and ultimately his message of mercy, peace and love.
As the season of autumn moves toward winter, I encourage you to seek out moments of silence during your week. If you have a family, help them to choose moments of silence. And in the silence, pay attention to the God who loves you, so that you may know him well and love him back.
Fr. Nels Gjengdahl