Day 2

Then the Lord said to Elijah,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain
before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by.” 
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the Lord – but the Lord was not in the wind. 
After the wind there was an earthquake – but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 
After the earthquake there was a fire – but the Lord was not in the fire. 
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
 I Kings 19: 11-19


It’s quiet here.

I feel my life transitioning into a stage of quiet.  I am actually not one of those clerics always bemoaning the lack of silence and contemplation in society.   I enjoy noisy, electric places.  I spent a week in New York City this year and was thrilled every morning when my feet hit the pavement of the streets: traffic, crowds, theatres, restaurants, museums all swirling around me in a mad rush of sound and light.  It’s wonderful and exhausting. 

However, here in this small town I feel the seduction of quiet and peace.  In my former parish I practically lived underneath Highway One.  I never slept with windows open or enjoyed a sense of stillness.  Here I keep the doors and windows wide so that the music of nature floods the rooms.  I am interested in the different times of day supporting unique sounds from nature.  Early mornings and twilights are my favorite moments.  One evening the sky was turning this ripe plum color and a silver grey fog rolled over the mountains near the church and it was as if the entire neighborhood had been hushed.  I am certain I heard the fog make a sound like the comforter on my bed when I pull it over freshly laundered sheets. 

When I am in the church celebrating daily mass I never hear the sound of a car horn.  On those mornings the church feels nestled in some alternative universe.  Although the mass is full of words and movements, I need only sit still in my chair for the assembly to relax into a rich, luxurious silence.  Quiet in church is like being wrapped in some fantastically expensive fabric that surrounds the individual in comfort and clarity.   Words, music and speech are all necessary tools that bring a disparate group into public prayer but it is in quiet that I can finally stop fretting, planning, dictating and orchestrating.  It is in the silence of this place I might be able to actually speak to God and perhaps more importantly to listen . . . to the tiny whispering sound.

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4 Responses to Day 2

  1. Mary Jane Mahaley says:

    I have never heard or read anyone describe how wonderful it feels to be sitting in the church and the warmth & contentment that over comes me. How wonderful to read how the silence embraces you. Thank you for sharing.

  2. carole parkinson says:

    you continue to amaze me…….recognizing these things is one thing indeed, but being able to put it all into words so eloquently makes me smile…keep on going, I love your insights

  3. greencat, Crossville, TN says:

    Really enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts. Looking forward to the next installments.

    So glad you were able to visit our parish in February and conduct our Mission masses. Thank you for all of your inspirational thoughts and prayers.

  4. Wm. "Gus" Gocella says:

    Fr. Matt, I really cannot express the comfort I felt sharing with you during our Mission In Crossville TN. Every day, more and more parishoners came, as drawn ‘to the water’. Days later, there was a let down after the ‘high’ we have been on for 5 days. You have been blessed with many gifts and that is why, when God ‘called’ you, you said yes and were chosen. I can relate to many of your Homilies and the stories you share now in your Journal. God has spoken to me through many people who have touched my life and you are one of those. We all should take time to write ‘our’ journal of the journey we are traveling. The hope and love we receive we must share to know Jesus’ life. “Go Make a Difference” in life and “Ordinary Holliness” are hymns Marian introduced to us and you so wonderfully sang/prayed and I thank you. Please stay and pray with me and my family. Grazie, e amore! Gus

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