Robert Cardinal Sarah’s teaching continues to astound and inspire me. I’v been reading his new book The Power of Silence, and keep finding profound contemplative wisdom and encouragement for the spiritual journey. Clearly, the Cardinal is not just an ecclesiastical bureaucrat. He has become love through his own consent to God in the silence. Perhaps one day, in the providence of God, he’ll become Pope.
Here’s just one example of his insightful contemplative theology grounded in scripture and tradition that I’m confident you’ll find irresistible:
“The Holy Spirit has no face and no speech. The Spirit is silent by his divine nature. The Spirit acts in silence from all eternity. God speaks, Christ speaks, but the Holy Spirit is always expressed through the prophets, saints, and [the people] of God. The Holy Spirit never makes noise. The Spirit leads to the truth by remaining the great intermediary [third-force]. In silence, the Spirit leads humankind toward Christ by repeating Christ’s teaching. The only time where the Holy Spirit came with noise was at Pentecost, in order to reawaken sleeping humankind and to draw it from its torpor and [sin [i.e. the pursuit of happiness in truly unsatisfying directions]…The Spirit dwells in the interior of a person by regenerating them without manifest noise. The Spirit is a silent force. Free as the wind, the Spirit blows unpredictable. If we do not drive away the Spirit’s fire, the Spirit sets the world ablaze…Today, the world is not sufficiently attentive to the Holy Spirit. Without attention to the Spirit, humans are divided; they scatter, hate one another…Then wars are started, and sects abound. Without the Spirit, unbelief advances; with the Spirit, God comes close.”*
My own experience verifies the theological pattern that the Spirit is silent. I have never heard the voice or word of the Spirit audibly. The presence and action of the Holy Spirit has always been through intimations, impressions, insights and intuitions. The Spirit hovers and indwells – and connects us into Christ, All-Present-Manifest, and through Christ by the Spirit, to the Father, All-Transcendent and Unmanifest.
The practical take-away, perhaps, is to enter more willingly into the silence – for it IS the domain of the Holy Spirit, and with the Spirit of God, great healing, wisdom, and other spiritual fruit become emergent in our lives. And in time, on our planet.
*Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (San Fransico: Igantius Press, 2017) 110 – 111, gender inclusive addition mine.
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