Dec 2nd, 2012 by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Lifestyle, Silence

500-odd years ago, Saint John of the Cross spelt out a kind of three-step formula for improving oneself spiritually:
“Ignoring the imperfections of others, preserving silence, and continual communion with God . . . will eradicate the imperfections from one’s own soul.”

[1] Step one is straightforward enough.
Just make yourself not do it.
Otherwise your desire to improve is a fake.

[2] Now for the second step.
Silence is central to everything else.
Set aside times for entering into your private thoughts in complete silence.
Spend that silence as though only God and yourself exist.

(Silence is not simply an absence of sound. Silence is something you can actually hear and learn to recognise.
Silence is a positive thing.
A gift. You must wait for God to give it to you.
He will, in his own time. Be patient, detached, docile, trusting.
To get started, try reading a few lines from the Bible or a book of devotions like “The Imitation of Christ”.
We tend to assume that God cannot be seen, heard or felt. But is that strictly true?
Might our minds have a faculty designed specifically for contact with God — shrivelled perhaps from disuse but, like a disused muscle, able to respond to training, to practice?)

[3] God wants you to know him.
To have continual communion with him.
He loves you.
He comes more than halfway to meet you.

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