The greatest of God’s secrets is God Himself.

He waits to communicate Himself to me in a way that I can never express to others or even think about coherently to myself. I must desire it in silence. It is for this that I must leave all things. 137

Everything in the spiritual journey leads eventually to this place.

Words have their value. They can help my heart open to Presence. Language used with humility and reverence can deepen and enrich my awareness of God’s work in the world. Words can deepen connection and commitment to truth.

But, in the end, I return from words with the renewed awareness that God “is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). The force of Love that is the Divine Presence at work in all of life will not be contained by or confined to mental constructs. God is “invisible” (Colossians 1:15). God is not knowable to my physical senses.

Spiritual tradition tells me that, although the beauty of the material realm can help my heart to open, in order to truly open to Divine Presence, I must for a moment turn away from those things that preoccupy my physical senses and fill my mind.

The author of the fourteenth century anonymous Middle English spiritual classic The Cloud of Unknowing, reminds his reader that

nowhere physically is everywhere spiritually.

So, Merton suggests, “I must leave all things,” or as Jesus framed it,

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

I must “desire” God’s presence “in silence.”

My consciousness of God grows in that place of absence and emptiness from which I spend so much of my life fleeing in fear.

When I stop, become still, enter the silence, and simply open, my inner sense becomes more finely attuned to the subtle presence of that One Who is known to me in secret and whose presence is known in silence. I am then able to re-enter the routines of life with a renewed awareness of God’s presence and action in all of life. My ability to live from the place of truth and strength that is God, is deepened.

What keeps me from silence?

What practices might I develop to help nurture those subtle senses that enable me to know God’s presence more fully in all of life?

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