Thursday, December 30, 2004

In silence, listen to God speak

In silence, listen to God speak

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Thursday, December 30, 2004 12:24 AM

It is 4:15 a.m. at our resthouse at Taal Lake. Can’t sleep, so I decided to get up and write rather than toss and turn in my bed. Besides, I like getting up early when here.

There is deep silence that is only broken by happy roosters that keep crowing and the occasional motorized banca that passes by. The fishermen are returning home from a night on the lake. I keep wondering if they had a good catch. After all, the well being of their families depends on it.

It is so quiet. Even the lake is perfectly still. I can only hear the slightest ripple of water on the shore a few meters away, no doubt the last gasp of the wake of a passing banca.

The quiet reminds me of the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was murdered by the Nazis because of his faith: “We are silent at the beginning of the day because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to sleep because the last word also belongs to God.”

The quiet of the very early morning causes me to turn my thoughts to God. It is as if all of nature stands still in awe and gives testimony to the presence of the Almighty and thereby urging me to do the same. The trees, the waters, the mountain behind the house, the vast star-studded skies above, the Tagaytay ridge across the lake: everything is perfectly still as if to render tribute to the Creator. It all reminds me of my obligation to do the same. Carlo Levi no doubt felt this when he wrote: “I listened to the silence of the night and I felt as if I had all of a sudden penetrated the very heart of the universe. An immense happiness, such as I had never known, swept over me with a flow of fulfillment.”

There is something about the dark, silent night that makes me yearn for the morning light. The night is so mysterious; the dawn such a welcome relief. Still, the night always lets me think of the Almighty, His mysteriousness and His incomprehensible greatness. The silent night is, for me, like the mind of God. Impossible to penetrate. I feel so small in His presence. The dawn is like a gentle reassurance from Him that all’s well; that He is watching over me, and has me securely in the palm of His hand.

The words of Thomas Merton echo in my mind: “Then we discover what the spiritual life really is… It is the silence of our whole being in compunction and adoration before God, in the habitual realization that He is everything and we are nothing, that He is the center to which all things tend, and to whom all our actions must be directed. That our life and strength proceed from Him, that both in life and in death we depend entirely on Him.”

A happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year to all of you. God bless you and your families!


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