18 April, Saturday – Learning to Listen in Silence

Acts 4:13-21
Mk 16:9-15

He appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised

As Christians, it is not uncommon to hear testimonies from our friends and loved ones of how they encountered God, or experienced a revelation during a retreat or worship session. Partly because of the newness of my faith and in part due to my personality, I’ve always found it difficult to relate to these experiences. During the few retreats that I had attended, I was always too self-conscious to participate in praise and worship, or too guarded to really share my thoughts with others.

Looking back, it was due to hardness of heart that I was unable to connect with others’ experiences. How is it possible for someone to always experience major epiphanies? How would they know that it is truly God who is speaking to them?

Like the apostles, it would take a personal experience with Jesus for me to truly believe in His presence amidst us. It first happened during contemplative prayer late one night, as I was praying alone at home. It happened again as I was praying on my sickbed in hospital. These experiences taught me that God speaks to each of us individually and in His time. While others may experience God in worship and community prayer, it was in silence that He spoke to me. Perhaps I needed the physical silence in order to quieten my heart.

In any case, I have found that the most important way to prepare my heart to receive God’s word is to sit in silence, pray, and simply believe. Just as the only way to receive something in our hands is to unclench our fists, the best way to receive God’s presence is to let go and do nothing, save to be silent and attentive. In our very busy world today, this is something that is much easier said than done.

(Today’s Oxygen by Jacob Woo)

Prayer: Lord, we pray for the faith and patience to receive Your graces and to perceive Your presence in our midst. 

Thanksgiving: We are thankful for our ever-faithful God, who never forsakes us but always persists in reaching out to us, even the hard-hearted.

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