Silence And Seedbeds
“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few”. As a seminarian, one question I hear quite often surrounds the apparent lack of vocations and the shortage of priests in the church. “Where are all the vocations? Isn’t God calling people to serve him anymore?”, many ask.
At times, it can definitely feel like God has stopped calling people to the priesthood and religious life. After all, if he was still calling them, surely there would be more vocations, right? Where are the 70 that Jesus sent ahead of him in the gospel today?
As is often the case, the problem lies not with God, but with ourselves. God is still calling people to serve him; we are the ones not listening. For many people today, God is simply not on their radar. With so many other things to occupy their time, it’s no wonder people aren’t hearing God anymore.
Without getting too much into it, think of how rare it actually is to find yourself in a moment of silence. Music, the radio, social media, our phones – all these things, while not bad in and of themselves, can distract us from the things that truly matter: relationships with others. And what relationship matters more than the one we have with our Creator? When was the last time you found yourself in a moment of silence without trying to fill it? Or what about the last time you went on a silent retreat?
In our high production, instant gratification, super-consumer society, these things tend to fall to the wayside. I recall the passage in 1 Kings where God has Elijah go to Mt. Horeb to await his arrival. As Elijah is waiting, he experiences a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire, yet God was in none of these. Instead, Elijah encounters God in “a sound of sheer silence” (v. 12). This is particularly telling: silence is the seedbed of vocations.
As we begin this new week, let us spend some time in silence, actively trying to reorient ourselves to our Creator. Let us “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” and in the silence of our hearts, let us pray for the courage to follow where he leads us.
Let us rediscover the value of sacred silence: in the car, in the liturgy, in every moment, let us listen for God in the sound of sheer silence.
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Edmonton