I read some years ago that when we confront our problems we can experience silence in three different ways, especially when we are navigating difficult personal challenges that are causing a great emotional and spiritual personal crisis.
In those moments of tribulation, we can experience a personal silence for not knowing what is going on inside of us. This is the silence that results from an episode related to something we ignore has affected us and continues affecting us emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We feel confused and have not answer to what is happening. We are in silence because we don’t know what to say.
A second silence is the private silence for knowing what is going on but choosing to keep it private. This is a different silence because we know what is happening and what is affecting us, but we don’t want to talk about it, we prefer to keep it reserved, private, and intentionally we are silent about it, this silence can be very destructive (Psalm 32, 3).
And there is a third kind of silence that we can call public silence that occurs when people in our environment let us know, in one way or another, that they do not want to hear about what is going on inside us, they prefer to ignore it making us and our problems invisible.
We can synthetize all these definitions saying that there are things, sins, problems, etc., affecting us that we don’t know and for that reason we cannot talk about them. There are also things we know very well are affecting us, but we choose not to talk about them, and there are things that people know are affecting us but they do not want us to talk about them because they do not want to say anything about them because it is painful and they prefer to live in denial. These three silences are negative. But there is another silence that can also be experienced. A positive silence, the silence that expresses our hope that the divine presence will touch our heart, soul and body, enlightening us with the abundant grace of the Holy Trinity. In Psalm 65, 5-7 the Psalmist declares:
For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
This is a different silence, this is the silence of the person of faith that knows that independently of the amount of pain, sorrow, illness, or indifference that can be experienced in the world, the Lord is coming always as a redeemer and shelter, and we can be saved and comforted. This silence is a positive silence, because it is the silence of the contemplative soul that trusts in God and surrenders their will to the divine will. This is the silence of Mary that pondered all the things that she discovered about Jesus in her heart. This is the silence that we need to learn and welcome. This is the silence that liberates us.
Have a wonderful and blessed time.