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  A Time of Miracles: Reflections on the Seasons of Advent and Christmas
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Waiting in Silence
by Mary C. Earle

We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O God.
—Psalms 48:8

Most of the time, we don’t wait. And we certainly don’t wait in silence. Most of the time, we hurry and we push. We split time into tenths of seconds. We fret when a traffic light turns red and holds us up for a bit. The press of hurrying creates harried and hassled souls, disconnected from life and from kindness itself.

By contrast, in Spanish, the verb esperar means both “to hope” and “to wait.” I have a native plant called esperanza in my gardens. It grows and blooms in the driest conditions, offering copious blossoms in gold or orange. When the blooms come, I am reminded of waiting in silence on loving-kindness. I am reminded of something that my usual pace all but obliterates: there is a way of being and knowing that is grounded in timing I did not create. There is a way of being and knowing that dimly remembers that waiting in hope is an attitude of faith.

Waiting in silence, creating space for steadfast love to grow within, may be the most essential practice of all. It is in many ways the spirit of Advent, that time of the Christian liturgical year when we practice the waiting of gestation and hoping, of trusting in new life not yet fully known.

Thomas Merton, Trappist monk and author, remarked that life is a perpetual Advent. He sensed that in that waiting, trust began to grow. Trust in God, trust in the Holy One who is beyond all that is created and is the source of all things, seen and unseen. Trusting and waiting allow the loving-kindness that is the essence of God’s own Life to grow in us, and to bear fruit that we never expected.

Grant me O God the capacity to wait in hope, to allow your own loving-kindness to grow in me, for the life of your world. Amen.

Copyright ©2006 Mary C. Earle


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