Silence in the Heart

I was reading an old text that recommends “silence in the heart.” Saint Diadochus of Photice, a bishop of the fifth century, said our mind should be like still waters. Then we can see the pollutants (temptations) and recognize “the fish” (grace).

It sounds wonderful. Such great advice. But it seems impossible to achieve in this modern era, especially in busy houses with children. How is this possible?

Today, for example, there is no school because snow has enveloped the state of New Mexico. And the children have important projects to do which means lots of interruptions for questions. And the barnyard animals are struggling with the severe cold so we are going outside more often to bring warm water. And I have a big editing job due soon. And the living room is a mess because of all our projects. And the kids eat all day long so the sink is full of dishes…

And…And…And. You get the drift. Chaos reigns.

Silence would be wonderful. But I don’t suppose St. Diadochus meant it would be easy to achieve. In fact, he says we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit and a persevering nature.

So here is my plan to still the waters of my soul. For whatever it’s worth, maybe it will help someone else.

1) Discipline. Getting up just a bit earlier means there is time for quiet prayer.

2) Repetition. It’s possible to repeat simple prayers over and over to drive away the distracting thoughts and temptations. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, help us.”

3) Holy Spirit Help. The Holy Spirit comes into our hearts with a simple invitation.

4) St. Michael Help. St. Michael drove Satan out of heaven. He is a good protector.

5) Breathe. Breathing puts us back in our bodies and helps achieve stillness.

6) Study. Reading the Bible or other spiritual material opens the heart to long for Jesus.

7) Pray. It’s like a corridor to heaven!

8) Sacraments. Frequent reception of the Eucharist is a gift. We make room in our hearts for Jesus.

Come Holy Spirit. Into the troubled waters of my soul you come. Bring silence. Help me to calm my mind so there is room for You.

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