An Ignatian Contemplation Retreat
Into the Silence
The Language of God & the Spirituality of Heart
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Jesus in Matt 6:21
“Many of the world’s religions believe there’s one simple path that leads us towards God, its been at the core of the Catholic mystical tradition for centuries, it’s called - silence.
Daunting as it may be, we all need silence, when we enter regularly into silence, we start to see things with greater clarity, especially I come to know myself, I come in touch with that part of myself, which is the deepest part - my soul. Life would be transformed for the better if we could embrace silence. Many people’s lives are so full of busyness and so full of noise they are in danger of this really important part of their lives, dying away. Life would be transformed for the better.”
Fr. Christopher Jamison
Abbot & Benedictine monk, England
The Big Silence Documentary
The Interior Life
Our interior life begins in and flows out of and through our soul. The soul lies at the central core of our being, the place we are connected directly with the Spirit of God and that which operates through our mind/body. It is through our mind/body we experience the world around us and in us, and where we process those experiences through feelings and thoughts.
Entering our Interior
Allowing ourselves to move into the core of our being – at the level of our soul. How we reach that place is “into the Silence” of contemplation.
It is through our openness - to take that first step in trust will allow God to work in us. It starts with a desire and then an intention to do so; for God will not force us or overcome us. We can unconsciously hold back this natural desire to ‘be with’, yet wonder why we feel something is missing, feel exhausted or unfulfilled. It takes energy to resist such a natural flow between God and us. For it takes courage to move past those ‘blocks’ that may rise up with us during the Silence, which we will sense as a resistance.
The spirituality of the Heart
The heart has its reasons of which the mind knows nothing
17th C French theologian, physicist, mathematician, logician
The Heart in scripture is the Person. Our heart speaks not just with words, but with affections.
Affections are those feelings, spontaneous thoughts, desires, deep emotions that well up from within us.
The content of our affections expresses our Inner Orientation–our whole self - intellect, feelings, unconscious and conscious intentions of the will. Our orientation is either moving towards God - towards the good, true and beautiful - or away from love that is God.
We are called to become aware of and mindful of the content of our affections, since they are indicators of our orientation towards or away from God.
How we come to know we are following His will, is when we follow our truest desires that are aligned with His desires. And how we come to realize our true deepest desires is by entering “into the Silence.”
How God Speaks
God reveals Gods-self indirectly to us in nature, through our encounters, and within our interior self. There we may encounter a prompting, such as a feeling beyond ourselves. Or a voice, not ours in which our soul shapes words in our head, in that sense we are ‘hearing voices’. Both of which are movements of God within our soul of God speaking.
We are called to notice
Listening to the language of the heart (our affections) is where God reveals Gods-self inspiring from us a response – a totality of response – our whole self – our thoughts, feelings, and desires (affections).
We are called to notice our deepest interior reactions to these promptings. These reactions are also called movements.
Non-material = thoughts, imaginations, memories, dreams, desires, feelings, moods, affections, intentions, and the will.
Material = our body – there we feel our emotions physically
They are considered spiritual (versus non-material) when they are directed from us towards and prompted from God within us.
Listening with the ‘ear of the heart’
“The important thing is not to think much but to love much.”
St. Teresa of Avila
The small still voice of God within is known by
quiet tranquility of mind
patient serenity of heart
peace of spirit
openness to the Divine
The Sermon on the Mount and the Last Supper Discourse
Imagine sitting there on the hillside in front of the sea, listening to Jesus speak these words to you.
Notice what comes up for you. Your feelings, thoughts, insights. Do not force trying to think of something, let it rise up from within.
Stay in that silence. Later note down what came up for you.
Blessed are you
When he saw the crowd, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
The Sermon on the Mount
Peace Be With you
Let your hearts not be troubled
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places… I am going to prepare a place for you.I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way … I am the way and the truth and the life. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
Last Supper Discourse. John 14: 1 – 6, 18,23,26