A silent peck on the cross in the shadow of your Beloved ...
The other night I sat on the couch trying to say the Rosary. But I was so exhausted from a long day of caring for my seven sons, I kissed the tiny crucifix and enjoyed a time of silence (too tired for even one Hail Mary). My husband poked his head into the room.
“Sorry,” he said, “I know you wanted to talk, but I’m wiped out.”
No problem, I thought, I just told Jesus the same thing.
As I was drifting off to sleep, I reflected on a familiar wooded path, one I’ve walked countless times with my husband of 20 years. Dusky evenings where we’ve held hands for miles without saying a word. Actually, it was Pete’s mild nature that first drew me to him. And after a couple decades of marriage, I’ve come to find rest in our low-key, often silent communication style — conversations based on nothing but the sound of pine needles crunching beneath our feet, as we move across the same stretch of land.
You see, when two people know each other well, they don’t need to talk. At least, not always. Plenty of times, we can simply abide side-by-side. Why should things be much different with my One True Spouse?
Mother Angelica once said, “Prayer is not something you do – it’s spending time with Someone.”
Cardinal Robert Sarah cherishes silent time with Our Lord so much, he wrote an entire book about it — The Power of Silence, in which he refers to the constant noise of our culture as a form of dictatorship: “Through silence,” he writes, “we return to our heavenly origin, where there is nothing but calm, peace, repose, silent contemplation, and adoration of the radiant face of God.”
Pope Francis recently gave the general audience address about contemplative prayer. He quoted the Cure of Ars, who famously said of Christ: “I look at Him, and He looks at me … prayer does not need many words. A gaze is enough.”
All these sentiments echo St. John’s observations about the incarnation: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) The verse reminds us that Christ came to be with us in a body, that our faith is physical, not merely intellectual or the popular “spiritual, but not religious.” And this physical aspect can be incredibly helpful. It’s why we Catholics unabashedly build beautiful churches filled with stained glass and statues. It’s why clouds of incense tickle our senses as we kneel before stone altars while being sprinkled with holy water. By crossing ourselves, we offer a physical prayer, invoking the Holy Trinity on our very bodies. And when life leaves us wordless, or just plain tired — prayer can be something as simple as kneeling in the shadow of our Beloved; gazing upon a crucifix, offering a tiny kiss.