“All you need to do is sit down and shut up.” I vividly remember my spiritual director telling me to do this one fall afternoon while I was an undergraduate. I had stopped by his house on campus to talk about my discernment, and he, while sitting on a chair on his porch, told me to go to the chapel, sit down, and shut up. I also remember leaving our conversation a little annoyed, because that was not the answer I was looking for.
Some four years later I still think back to that afternoon and thank God, because it was some of the best advice I have ever been given. To be quiet with our Lord is one of the most difficult things to do. In a relationship, though, both people must talk and listen. Both must be open with one another, and both must be able to listen to and understand the other.
It can be easy to enter into prayer and to talk to God about our day, to praise Him for his goodness, to ask Him for help, etc. It can also be easy to get up and end our prayer after we have gotten to say what we felt like saying. This is all good and necessary. But this alone isn’t yet a complete relationship with God.
We have to sit and listen to what God is telling us. When we sit with the Lord and “shut up,” we give God the opportunity to talk to us. By closing our mouths (literally and figuratively), by trying to set aside the business of our lives for a few moments, and giving God all of our attention, we give Him the opportunity to answer our petitions and to fill us with His love.
God speaks to us in the silence of our hearts and of our souls. Our relationship with God is intensely intimate, and penetrates to the depths of our being. Unless we are willing to try and clear our minds of the business that invades our lives each day, how can we hope to hear Him?
God never stops communicating with us. Every second of every day, the Lord is speaking to us. Now the question to ask is: How often are we listening, and how intently are we listening? How can we ignore so often the One who loves us more than we could ever hope or imagine? When we are able to be with our Lord and “just sit down and shut up,” imagine what we will hear.
Image: Anonymous, Genuflection