In the beginning, there was silence: from a formless wasteland God gave us light and the beginning of earth and speech.
Silence preceded speech, a gift and attribute of God. Speech is not able to imitate silence, essential, while speech is extrinsic. Words can't convey the meaning of silence. These words begin an article on the editorial page of the Peace Weekly: a tribute to silence.
Where silence ends we have the beginning of truth. Words are not able to express a full truth. Those who search for the first mysteries go beyond words. In silent contemplation, they go in search of God. Only in complete love and openness, does silence approach God.
Words enable understanding and also hamper it. True communication goes beyond words. Buddha for many years preached but gave up on words, and grasped a flower. Where words are useless silence takes over.
In the womb before words, we learned silence, born with love. Pain came with the opening to the world of words we first heard.
"One man is silent and is thought wise, another is talkative and is disliked. One man is silent because he has nothing to say; another is silent, biding his time. A wise man is silent until the right time comes, but a boasting fool ignores the proper time. He who talks too much is detested; he who pretends to authority is hated" (Sirach 20:4-7).
Election time is here. Politicians are busy with spreading their words on banquet tables. They extol personal merits and cut down their opponents with their stinging words. Silence gives rise to love and humility; toxic words scatter and build up pride and self-righteousness. Words that carry poison often return to the breasts of those uttering them.
It is time for us to reduce the number of our words remembering the ashes on the first day of Lent and our death. Silence will lead us on to a deep appreciation of the Easter Mystery.