Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote in his 2016 book The Power of Silence that "God's first language is silence." Explaining himself, he said, "I wanted to invite Christians and people of good will to enter into silence; without it, we are in illusion. The only reality that deserves our attention is God Himself, and God is silent. He waits for our silence to reveal Himself."
Scripture reinforces this point. It is in silence that God's voice in our souls is heard. When Elijah went up to Mt. Horeb to wait for God, Scripture tells us:
And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:11–14)
It is in the silence of the cloister that monks and nuns contemplate Our Lord, listening to Him in the depths of their souls. It is in the silence of adoration, as the faithful kneel before their Lord and King exposed in the monstrance, that we hear His gentle voice speak in the interior of our hearts.
It is in silence that God's voice is most clearly heard.
This is why evangelism consisting of laser light shows, loud music, dancing, singing and theatrics that leave the senses momentarily overwhelmed can never give an authentic, genuine, deep experience of God. They can offer an emotional high, a temporary, superficial surge of emotion, provoke tears or laughter, perhaps offer consolations — but the emotions never last. They eventually fade, the consolations disappear — and the soul not firmly rooted in the Faith, not anchored in God in the core of his being through fidelity and obedience, not steeped in the fundamentals of the Faith, will find himself adrift, yearning for that superficial, feelings-based experience again, seeking the next emotional high. Statistics show more often than not, he'll find it among the Protestants — who do theatrical evangelism better than Catholics.
Watch the panel discuss the latest fad sweeping Catholic parishes, The Cross and the Light, in The Download—Gospel Theatrics.
Like our work? Support us with a donation.