Today’s epistle is very important in following the path of Christ. It teaches us the three fold path: “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” In our modern society, we seem to dismiss this type of teaching. Yet, I find that it is one of the most important things we can do. When we approach an issue, we must be slow to speak about how to address the issue. The concept of sacred silence is very important within our Christian lives, and even more so amongst the native spirituality. As a lay dominican, this has even more profound meaning. Silence is necessary in our study and is integral to the spirituality of learning. It teaches me that we must be silent to understand, to grasp, and to debate.
Yet, we need to ask the question of how is silence addressed within the confines of this subject? While it is impossible to limit the thoughts that we receive, it is enough to suppress thoughts that come at us. The catechism Christ our Pascha art. 753 states, “Being attentive to the heart is first and foremost dismissing evil thoughts and guarding the heart with sensitivity.” This means that we must protect ourselves by keeping the shield of faith active at all times. This shield that we have in our tradition is the Jesus Prayer. In this our activity is to silence all thoughts by focusing on the prayer itself and our breathing of the prayer. Through this we become the fertile ground in meekness to receive the word of God in our hearts. Yet, this silence is not just to brindle the tongue of our mouth, but rather to also brindle the tongue of our minds so that we may enter into the divine silence and learn to be “hearers of the word” and then doers by visiting, “orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27).
Through this we are able to enter into the paschal mystery and become more and more like the icon of Christ himself. May the prayers of our holy fathers protect us and save us!