2 April — Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week. For adherents of mainstream Christianity, it is the last week of the Christian solemn season of Lent that precedes the arrival of Eastertide.
Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.
To hear what?…You may wonder…
We have nearly reached the end of the Lenten season. Have we been able to achieve what we set out to do? I certainly failed in the area of abstaining from snacking. I struggled with it last Lent and this Lent, I’m still struggling. But I think I made up for it in other ways.
To follow Jesus is to listen like a disciple. But too much noise surrounds us each day. The endless text messages that pop up on our devices, our work deadlines, social media feeds, Netflix, music, online games, children, chores, our stresses and worries. Have you ever tried to keep silent without a word or even thought for even five minutes? I tried doing that on a few occasions in the adoration room, but found being still difficult. Yet as St Augustine said, “our heart is restless until it rests in you”. This restlessness continues, disrupting my morning contemplative prayer and quiet time with Jesus. There was always something I had to do, or was waiting for me to do, that I ended up very distracted. I really miss that exclusive time with Jesus.
The Lord truly knows my heart and so, two weeks ago, I went on a silent retreat at Seven Fountains in Chiangmai. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I am so thankful to be able to finally do it. For the uninitiated, spending a few days in silence without talking to anyone can be quite daunting. I struggled on the first day, trying to be still and ended up even more restless. It was only on the second day that I started to hear Jesus really clearly. He wanted to teach me how to pray in silence. Sitting inside the chapel alone, I was still and learnt that it is where my heart lies. The silence is like being inside the church where the heart of God is. To better illustrate this, Jesus showed me how on a boat rocking against the turbulent seas, I could draw from the calm of silence by keeping my eyes focused on him. This silence in my heart will be my strength, my stronghold, my armour against all the noises of life outside, even “knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is — still — the constancy of stillness” said Oprah Winfrey in her book, What I Know For Sure. I need to learn how to stay with this silence of the heart, to not be tempted by what’s happening outside around me. To be still is to know God. Only in silence can we hear the voice of God.
The Lord has opened not just my ears, but my heart, to listen with faith. I am also learning to listen in humility to those around me, to silence my mind so that I don’t listen with judgement. Listening to others is also learning to hear God’s will — the things that we sometimes dread, or are afraid to hear, or are unwilling to accept. There is so much wisdom to something as simple as silence.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, open our ears and hearts so that we may hear you every day. We are often not able to hear because our ears are blocked by the busyness and noise of our lives. So, as we walk towards Holy Week, help us reflect on the true meaning of your passion and the sacrifice you made for us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for your sacrifice born out of love for us. As we look at you on the cross, may we continue to welcome you into our hearts – even if we don’t fully understand. Thank you for your everlasting love. Help us to love you more!
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