INVITATION TO BE SENSITIVE TO THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FROM GOD
Sometimes we are blinder than Bartimaeus. We are spiritually blind to see many opportunities that God sends along our way to express our faith to Him.Often times we let those opportunities go by, not recognizing that an opportunity is a gift from God. He gives us opportunity to work with people around us yet many of us never take advantage of it.
Sometimes we just take life as it is and live life from one day to the next and think that everything’s going to be okay that we no longer stop to think that every day in our life as a believer is a day in which God is personally involved with one opportunity after the other.
Have you ever walked away, from a situation in your work and thought all of a sudden, “Ah, I missed it! I just missed it!”? What did you miss? Did you miss those wonderful opportunities? What are those wonderful opportunities? Did you miss to give your best shot? Did you miss to give a word of encouragement to your co-employee whom you know are going a difficult time? Did you miss to be of specific help to your colleague who needed your help? What other wonderful and Godly opportunities did you miss because you fail to be sensitive to the many passing opportunities that God sent along your way?
SENSE OF HEARING: SILENCE AS THE WAY OF ATTENTIVE LISTENING
In New Evangelization synod Bishop Chito Tagle said that “the church must discover the power of silence.” ”Confronted with the sorrows, doubts and uncertainties of people she cannot pretend to give easy solutions,” he said. “In Jesus, silence becomes the way of attentive listening, compassion and prayer. It is the way to truth.” (attenditus, from L. attentus “heedful, observant”. It is a sense of “actively ministering to the needs and wants” of another person).
Tagle suggested that silence would be one signal of a new spirit of humility. “The church’s humility, respectfulness and silence might reveal more clearly the face of God in Jesus,” he told the synod. Bishop Tagle also said that “we see in our time so much exchange of words happening at high speed and across national boundaries. But unfortunately the world is as divided as ever. Why is communion not achieved in spite of the exchange of words?”
There are two ironies here. First, how can it be to evangelize through silence since proclaiming the message entails one to speak? Second, with such position of Bishop Tagle he was made VP of the Synod for the Message. Let us consider silence (as attentive listening according to Bp Tagle) and the word and take a look into it.
In his message for the 46th World Communications Day issued last January 24, 2012, the Holy Father points out that the relationship of silence and word, which is an important aspect of the human process of communication, is often overlooked.
[Silence and the word must] be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive, communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning.
Silence is very important as we communicate God’s word and as we communicate to the Word. Silence allows us to listen and understand clearly ourselves and the words we want to say. Silence allows us to understand not only ourselves but others as well and thus creating a deeper mutual understanding.
Not only that, the Holy Father also adds that silence gives way for deeper reflection which is important in determining what is essentially relevant from what is insignificant.
Contemporary man continues to ask ultimate questions of human existence but he is bombarded with enormous amount of ideas, unfamiliar questions and answers he has never asked. Search engines and social networks offer these unfamiliar ideas, questions and answers. In the face of these overwhelming upsurges of data, silence offers a path for him to discern properly.
Silence is an important state that can help man to rediscover himself and that Truth which gives meaning to all things. God is a God of silence and speaks by the mystery of his silence as seen in the cross of Jesus Christ which echoes the eloquence of God’s love.
This is where Bishop Chito’s thought is coming from; it is from the Holy Father himself. Benedict XVI’s theology of silence is the foundation of Bp Tagle’s statement regarding the importance of silence in the new evangelization. Silence then becomes an effective way to preach and “re-propose” the gospel to new and old territories (where Christianity has a strong history).
If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. In speaking of God’s grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation “to communicate that which we have seen and heard” so that all may be in communion with God (1 Jn 1:3). Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbors so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love.
Through silent contemplation, the Word of God, Jesus Christ is being incarnated, being born, being made present anew. The Word that which is not outdated but ever present and up-to-date, is Jesus our very own contemporary who continues to make us aware and share in the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing by word and deed. And as sharers of this work of God we too preach salvation in our humble way “as heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and peace.”
The Holy Father concludes his message affirming the importance of silence and word in proclaiming Christ in this contemporary period, he favorably said: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church’s work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today’s world.
SENSE OF TOUCH: BEING TOUCHED BY THE LORD
In Mark 10 we have read about a blind man whom Jesus touched, and healed of His blindness. But that is only one place we can read about the touch of God upon our lives. We see touching throughout the Scriptures. It conveys love, understanding, healing, and life. It speaks when words cannot. But what happens when our lives are touched by God?
When we are touched by God, we are given new sight. After we are given new life in Christ, our spiritual eyes are able to see, to understand, to discern the things of the Spirit of God. We can understand how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. We once were blind, but now we see!
Over and over and over God calls for us to come to Him, to allow Him to heal us that we may have new sight so that we may have the privilege to follow Him. Yes, He wants us to call and pray to him. Even now, and every second of our life, He will stop and turn to us and attend to our needs. Will we reach out and pray to Him? If by faith we reach out to Him and pray, He will meet our every need. He will respond to the cry of our heart. He will touch us and heal us so that we may go – go in his footsteps.