Friday, January 8, 2010

A Silent Heart

A word has finally settled in my heart to remember throughout this new year of 2010. Many others have similarly chosen meaningful words or themes such as now and yes and peace. There is an excellent thread on 4Real Forums where many mothers share their words for 2010 and why they were chosen. For me, it will be ~


When this word first came to mind, it was before I was reading about moms choosing a word or theme for the new year. The Lord simply put on my heart a challenge to work on the virtue of silence in the new year. I had long lost sight of any daily time of silence for prayer or reflection, and I had been seeking distraction and mindless occupation online and with television. As I began to read the choices of others, I discovered the depth of this lesson the Lord is trying to impress upon my heart.

I could see the Lord trying to teach me to reduce my constant need for chatter throughout the past year, but my pride did not welcome it. I attended mom's groups and mom's socials and homeschooling gatherings, hoping to find a kindred spirit with whom to share the struggles of my soul. At each meeting, to my dismay, I felt prompted to listen, to ask questions, and not to try to fulfill my own needs, letting God do that. In the fall, I scheduled a trip with a dear friend and planned in my mind the late night discussions we would have after the children were in bed. Her sweet little ones all got dreadfully sick, and our reunion and, thus, the extended conversations were cancelled.

It was after that disappointment I realized these deep thoughts were not meant to share with anyone except my God. Since at that point I was barely speaking to Him, this forced me to embrace my solitude. I often feel alone in large groups or isolated in small groups, like I do not quite connect with the others, and this has bothered me more than ever over the past year. But, once I began to embrace the solitude, I learned there is great peace to be found in the silence of my heart.

With a husband home more over the Christmas holiday, I was also blessed with a much-needed glimpse into a mirror. He is always able to make such astute observations about simple things that would make my life easier or my soul cleaner in a way that does not offend me or put me on the defensive (a true challenge). One such comment had to do with how much I talk and how many words I throw at the children throughout the day. Yes, throw. You know what I mean. I give them instruction every second of every day from our schooling to their hygiene and chores. Internally, I pledged to be quiet more.

Then, of course, on New Year's Day, soon after reading others' choices for words for 2010, the words in the Gospel of Luke jumped out at me at Mass ~

But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. ~ 2:19

The homily focused on several points, the last being to hold dear the treasure of our hearts and to deeply ponder His presence in our lives. This was fitting, as I had been reflecting throughout Advent on my spiritual journey of 2009 and how prayer was sadly lacking due to the absence of routine we had in the previous several months. A new aspect of Mary to imitate grew roots in my soul.

I also found this quote in my current daily reflection book, Thirsting for God: A Yearbook of Prayers and Meditations by Mother Teresa, on January 2 ~

Let us make this a year of peace in a very particular way: We will try to talk more with God and to God and less with men and to men. And then, from the silence of our hearts, we can preach the peace of Christ as he did, by going about doing good to others.

and this quote on January 4 ~

The apostles devoted themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. Their example teaches us that the more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. Therefore, on the streets, in the slums, at work, in the home, we should pray with our whole heart and soul. We must keep that silence which Jesus kept for thirty years at Nazareth. Even now, he keeps it in the tabernacle, silently making intercession for us.

Mother Teresa's words often speak of silence, so I am confident I will be blessed with more wonderful quotes throughout the year that will challenge me to remember my commitment.

Having so many confirmations that silence would be a gift to my soul and to my family, I have chosen to work on being silent, keeping more in my heart, and then giving those hidden things to the Lord more than ever before in 2010.

What is your word, theme, and/or Scripture for this year and why did you choose it?

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