By Br. William Kraus, OFM Cap.

Federation Religious Assistant

During last Sunday´s Mass the Lord gifted me with a precious image of Lent.  At the time of the Gospel, I observed a little girl of about four years old sitting with her family right in front of the ambo, pulling herself up with her hands and resting her chin on the bench in front of her, gazing up with rapt attention at the deacon proclaiming the Gospel.  Here eyes were intense and eager, her face bright and joyous.

At that moment I begged the Lord in my heart to grant me such a spirit: open to hear and eager to live the Word of God as a new gift of salvation every day of my life.

We begin in the Church the paschal cycle (Lent-Easter-Pentecost) and we initiate in the Federation of Capuchin Poor Clares the 800th anniversary of the vocation of St. Clare.  We are invited in this time of grace to renew our life in the Church and deepen our Capuchin vocation.  I want to reflect with you in this first of our monthly messages on a fundamental dimension of our Lent and of our contemplative life: silence.

That is to say, a silence that fixes our attention totally upon the mystery of God and a silence that proclaims that He is the beginning, the end, the Absolute of our existence.

Pope John Paul II in developing his theology of the body said that the existential condition of Adam, before the creation of Eve, was that of “original solitude.”  In the book of Genesis this primordial solitude is a silent space, an open space, a dynamic potency towards God and the rest of creation.  With the creation of Eve (woman), God fills this space for Adam (man) with a companion and the two of them form the human family.

But that is not the vocation for everyone.

Some are called to enter into this original solitude, guard it and protect it as essential to the human experience; and to proclaim precisely by their silence that God is finally the only One who can fill this space and satisfy the human longing.  For the whole human race, including married people, our hearts are restless until they rest in God.

It is quite evident that many inhabitants of our world are drowning in a tsunami of deafening noise.  St. Clare and the whole contemplative tradition affirm, on the other hand, that a silence attentive to God is necessary for authentic love and human fraternity.  Let us embrace our vocation and live it in this Lenten and Jubilee time, to fructify this original solitude with an abundance of new life in the Spirit of God and in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus.

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