Jesus got up and gave orders to the wind and said to the lake, “Silence! Be Still!” (Mark 4:29, The Common English Bible).
The lake can be a lovely place, but it can also be frightening. A storm can come at any time. The waters that seemed so tranquil and calm, become a mass of chaos. As quickly as the stormy winds come and stir up the waters of the lake; they just as soon move on and the waters become calm again.
The words I am using for this blog reflection from Mark, tell us that Jesus stood and ordered the wind and the lake to be silent and still. The verse after this one tells of how the Disciples were amazed to the point of dropping their jaw, that even the wind and water obeyed Jesus. It is a beautiful story to read over and over again.
Sometimes Jesus does get up and commands the stormy wind and waves of our lives to be calmed. Other times it can feel to us that Jesus is still asleep. The problem can be our lack of faith. It can also be that God wants us to reach out even more to God. So often, we become too self reliant and arrogant even while we are experiencing personal turbulence. Sometimes the storm is within ourselves. Jesus would like to get up and command the wavy waters within us, but if we will not listen as He calls us to be silent and still there is only so much He can do for us.
It bears repeating that St. Benedict begins The Rule with the words, “Listen, and incline the ears of your heart.” I believe this is the silence and stillness that Jesus calls us to embrace in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus calls us to be silent and still so that we can listen to the Holy Spirit within our hearts. This is not an intellectual exercise. It is the experience of the contemplation of God within the whole of ourselves. The silence and stillness is not merely to quiet exterior noise. Rather, it is the noise, the wind and stormy waters within us. You have to admit, if Jesus can calm the storms within our lives, He has to be pretty powerful.
Let us all listen with the ears of our hearts to Jesus calling to our windy and chaotic hearts to be still and silent. In that silence and stillness, God will tell us how much we are loved, and call us in this moment to grow closer to God and one another in love and faith.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB