“Jesus has no need of books or teachers to instruct souls; He teaches without the noise of words. Never have I heard Him speak, but I feel that He is within me at each moment; He is guiding and inspiring me with what I must say and do. I find just when I need certain lights which I had not seen until then, and it is not most frequently during my hours of prayer that these are most abundant but rather in the midst of my daily occupations.”
-St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul
Silence is the language of God. Without silence it is difficult to hear His voice. Very seldom does Jesus speak to the soul with audible words. Rather, He uses impressions and flashes of insights. As St. Therese said, more often than not, He does not speak to us when we are engaged in prayer or meditation. If He did, we would be tempted to think that we could just push a button and the Lord would be obliged to speak. Soon enough, like those engaged in Eastern spirituality, we would be deluded into thinking that communicating with God is the result of a technique. But it isn’t. He takes the initiative. And in doing so He speaks to our soul when we are walking to the refrigerator or when we are waiting in line at the grocery store or when we are driving. Indeed, inspirations come when we least expect it.
Perhaps, if God has given you some insight or has revealed some previously unknown truths to you, when you get a chance- write it down. It just might come in handy in the future. Moreover, when you do pray- hopefully with your family and in solitude (both are necessary) –call attention to God’s presence within you. This might bear a superficial resemblance to an “Eastern spiritual exercise,” but rest assured, most, if not, all of the Saints recommended this premeditation before your actual prayers begin. If you are like me, you might be inclined to see God in nature; such as the stars, the sky or just anywhere outside. After all, St. Paul says we can discern God’s existence in the beauty of His creation. Nevertheless, it is an article of Faith that the Holy Spirit dwells in our souls in a special way; in a way He doesn’t exist in the material universe. He comes alive, not through a rock or a bird, but through a sanctified soul who bears His image.
From time to time we need to remind ourselves that Christ’s own body became a Temple of God so that our body could be a temple of the Holy Spirit too. Yes, the altar, the tabernacle, the sanctuary and our Lord’s real presence in the Eucharist at the local church is truly the House of the Lord. But like the Jewish Temple, the sanctuary of your local church not only symbolizes heaven but it is a template of the human soul. The hearts is the altar of Christ. And St. Paul says that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. Little acts of self-denial and love, therefore, serve as miniature holocausts. Mother Theresa used to say that the smallest of things can become infinite if it is offered to God with love.
Therefore, honoring God at the altar is but the fulfillment of glorifying Him in our soul. When all is said and done, God dwells in the sanctuary of our souls on earth so that we can dwell in Him in heaven. And as St. Therese indicated, Jesus guides and inspires us along the path to heaven in His own way- in His own time- using His own language.