By Florence, SSJD Companion.
Ash Wednesday was a snowy day. I was listening to the snow. Silence ushered the listening to my deepest self. “The highest form of prayer is to stand silently in awe of God” (Saint Isaac the Syrian) Holding its breath and standing on tiptoe, the creation is eager to hear from the Creator. Meanwhile, the false & fractured self, a.k.a. ego, was screaming for attention. The snow was hushing the howling wind. Snow flakes landed gently on my palm and met their demise. The false self breathed
its last and crumbled into dust. The prayer posture is listen. Listen to the Creator’s whispers through the creation. The sound of snow is not audible to the ears, it is beyond language, it is tuned to our hearts and our souls.
The smudge on my forehead does not make a sound. It is a very loud sign. I walked around with it all day, pronouncing my mortality and the Creator’s humility. This is a prayer without words, without petitions, without complaints. I washed off this black mark and entered the holy season.
Silence continues to wash over me daily in this season. Morning prayers incorporate fifteen minutes of silence. The sound of snow, the sound of wind, the sound of breathing, the sound of silence and the silent groaning of the Spirit pierce my soul. This prayer crushes the stubborn false self to dust again and again.