From the disturbing sound pollution perceived from automobiles to the regular noise produced from various sound systems at Churches, Mosques, clubs, restaurants etc., not to mention the incessant ping/vibration of text messages/calls issuing from our cell phones wherever we go, there is no denying the fact that modern life comes with a displeasing noise, such that there appears to be no room for silence. “Without silence, God disappears in the noise, and the noise becomes all the more obsessive because God is absent. Unless the world rediscovers silence, it is lost,” writes Cardinal Robert Sarah in “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.”
In his Apostolic Exhortation “Redemptoris Custos” (Guardian of the Redeemer), Pope St. John Paul II particularly stressed the silence of St. Joseph; “a silence permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of complete openness to the divine will.” Put differently, St. Joseph’s silence was not an expression of interior emptiness, but of the fullness of faith that he carried in his heart, and that guided his every thought and deed. Through his silence, he was able to contemplate the plan of God deeply in his heart, and act so strongly as reflected in Scripture (cf. Matthew 1:24). Here, we can see a clear parallelism between “St. Joseph’s act of faith”, made in response to the message of an angel, and “Mary’s act of faith” made at the moment of the Annunciation. Mary speaks (“Let it be done to me as according to your word” – cf. Luke 1:38), while Joseph acts; apparently, in both cases there is a free decision, a readiness of will, to cooperate with the grace and plan of God, trusting in the divine providence.
Prayer: Through the intercession of St. Joseph, may we be “infected” by the virtue of silence, in a world that is often too noisy, that does not favour meditation or listening to the voice of God. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org