Quiet and Loud – Raised Catholic episode 5

The following is a transcript from the Raised Catholic podcast. To listen to the podcast, click here.

Today is episode 5 – Quiet and Loud

Well hello friends. In one of my non-podcasting vocations, I’m an early childhood music teacher.  I’ve done this work for almost twenty years and I’m continually amazed at what the kids are teaching me while I’m teaching them.  Frequently we’ll use rhythm sticks and as a regular practice we’ll first slide the sticks together, back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, making a “soft” sound, and then we’ll click them together, making a “loud” sound.  When I ask my students which one they liked best: soft or loud, you’ve probably guessed that maybe 90% of the kids say LOUD, frequently with a LOUD voice.

Humans are attracted to loud. 

And in this time of questioning, deconstructing and rebuilding our faith lives, loud is everywhere.  The country feels loud, our Church is loud, some of our friends and neighbors are loud.  Media is loud and social media is even louder.  Lately I find when I’m scrolling, even in a quiet house, my ears are positively ringing from the noise.  It’s too much and it’s not how we were designed to live. 

So, let’s remember our purpose here together.  If you’re new here, first, welcome, and please go back and listen to episode one. It’s called ‘Notre Dame’, and we talk about the symbolism of a church in ashes and compare that to our church today.  It’s up to us now to dig through and decide what we want to carry forward into our faith lives, how to reconnect with Jesus in such a way that the Church we’re building is safe, healthy, helpful, and meaningful.

So then ask yourself, is ‘loud’ safe, healthy, helpful, and meaningful for you as you build a life of faith? It’s our responsibility to be informed and to use our voices for those who have no voice, and that’s more true now than ever probably, but when it comes to connecting with the heart of faith, quiet is key.  

But we run from silence, don’t we?  There are so many voices and we’re oriented to be active, to listen, to engage, to respond.  And if you’re like me, you might find silence even a little scary.  But it’s not overstating it to say that silence – that’s where you’ll find God.

In the book of 1Kings, there’s the story of Elijah who had killed many prophets with a sword and he was running for his life fearing retribution. He entered the wilderness and despaired, willing his own death. Well, an angel touched him and provided bread, water and comfort and Elijah received these, then traveled for 40 days and nights, found the mountain of the Lord, and slept.

Maybe we look back on our Church’s history, some of it ugly and twisted, and it makes us want to run too. Certainly, we’re all in a kind of wilderness these days and we need sustenance and rest. I love the part of the story where the angel comes unbidden and provides for Elijah’s needs because I believe that kind of undeserved divine intervention is available for us, too.  At least I hope so.

Anyway, the Lord asks Elijah what he’s doing there (what a good question!) and Elijah tells him the story of how he’s fallen short and how he’s put himself in danger, and the Lord says “what’s needed now is for you to experience the Lord’s presence.”  Isn’t that wonderful? He doesn’t acquit Elijah of his crimes, and he doesn’t offer protection or guidance. He just says, hey, you need to get yourself in the path of God, like right now. I love that. So, this, Elijah does, right there on the mountain of the Lord.

He experiences a great and powerful wind, and then an earthquake, and then a fire, but the Lord was not to be found in any of these.  After the fire came a gentle whisper and when Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then the Lord asked again, what are you doing here, Elijah?  And now, finally humbled and quiet, Elijah was ready to receive the clarity, direction and help that God had for him, and that changed everything.

So, my friend, what are you doing here?  And not just here listening to a podcast, though thanks for listening, but what are you doing here, in the church or in your one human life? I offer to you today that you probably won’t find answers to those questions in the very loud voices of leaders, media, or even the people you love and respect the most.  In this chaotic time, you and I are going to have to get quiet, whether we like it or not. 

So, how do we do this?  If you’re like me, you might find a space of quiet to be a place where your mind runs wild, and that makes it hard.  And for this reason, my quiet times are best spent in a different space, an empty and unfamiliar church, my car on a drive, or a long walk or run.  Believe it or not, instrumental music can be a good companion for “quiet” times as it gives your brain a little something to do.  Reflections like the Examen or the practice of spiritual journaling are aided by quiet.  I’ll have links to these and many more ideas in the show notes today.

But for now, let’s ask God to help us find the sacred space of quiet in order to hear His gentle voice amid all the noise today.  So, would you pray with me? In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.  God, we know that you are ever-present to us.  Help us find ways to steal away from the noise to attend to your still and loving voice.  Help us to find buckets of light at our feet so we’ll know where to walk.  Help our souls to recognize your voice in the quiet as you speak to us in love.  We pray for all of this in the name of Jesus, amen.

Well, friends, before I leave you today, I want to thank those of you who have subscribed, rated, reviewed, and shared this podcast.  As you may know, I’m making this space for us kind of all on my own, so if you find it helpful, sharing it in these ways is a great way to get this message out.  So, I thank you in advance for that. 

Well, that’s it for me today.  May the blessings of almighty God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit descend upon you and your dear ones today and forever. Amen.

Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.

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