August 11, 2006
Julian Meditations

July, 2006

The Well-trained Tongue

by Macrina Wiederkehr

"The Lord God has given me a well trained tongue that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear ... "

Isa. 50:4 NAB

THE SECRET OF THIS well-trained tongue is found not in speaking, but in silence. If you want your words to be powerful words of blessing, words that nourish others, then learn to be silent. The world is afraid of silence. Radios blare. Televisions are never turned off. The stereo is on at top volume. The voice speaks whether or not it has something to say.

A sign on my calendar reads, "Don't talk unless you can improve on silence." I swallow hard. These words convict me as I reflect on the many times I chatter on with words that do not nourish. Silence gently draws us to our depth. By letting go of our many words we are drawn to that One Word made Flesh, that Word that gives life and power to all of our spoken words.

I love silence. I love words. Silence and words have been at war within my soul for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, all too often I have chosen words over silence. Silence is scarey. It is frightening to be so utterly with yourself. Then, too, the world affirms me more for my words than for my silence. How could the world affirm what it does not understand? But we, whom Jesus said are not of this world, surely we can come to understand silence and feel at home in its embrace. ...

To pray is to touch God and let God touch us. It is a matter of presence and response. Prayer does nothing to make God more present, for God is always present. A friend comes to see us. What do we do? We reach out to touch and receive that friend. We allow this friend, in some way, to touch us. Friendship is a marvelous exchange, and that is exactly what prayer is.

Taken from A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary by Macrina Wiederkehr (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988), pp. 38, 39.