As the doorman of Emerald City would say, “Well, bust my buttons!” What a pleasure to read new writing from Father Benedict, who shares his thoughts on Cardinal Robert Sarah’s new book, The Power of Silence with a brief but lovely essay at First Things:
Ever since I first read the Letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch in the 1950s, one passage from his Letter to the Ephesians has particularly affected me: “It is better to keep silence and be [a Christian] than to talk and not to be. Teaching is an excellent thing, provided the speaker practices what he teaches. Now, there is one Teacher who spoke and it came to pass. And even what He did silently is worthy of the Father. He who has truly made the words of Jesus his own is able also to hear His silence, so that he may be perfect: so that he may act through his speech and be known through his silence” (15, 1f.). What does that mean: to hear Jesus’s silence and to know him through his silence? We know from the Gospels that Jesus frequently spent nights alone “on the mountain” in prayer, in conversation with his Father. We know that his speech, his word, comes from silence and could mature only there. So it stands to reason that his word can be correctly understood only if we, too, enter into his silence, if we learn to hear it from his silence.
It’s a brief visit with a beloved voice (but so nice to come by). Benedict calls Sarah “a master of silence and of interior prayer,” and pointedly expresses gratitude for Pope Francis having appointed Sarah to head the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Because of that appointment, writes Benedict, “The liturgy is in good hands.”
The whole piece is here.