“Through silence, we return to our heavenly origin, where there is nothing but calm, peace, repose, silent contemplation, and adoration of the radiant face of God.”
― Robert Sarah, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise
I love the woods. Getting away from the noise of the world, the stress of work, and everyday pressures is refreshing. My husband and I enjoy hiking and our children tolerate our family hobby.
Retreating to the national forest as a family allows for us to bond, make memories, and sometimes pray together away from the hustle and demands of life that get in the way of quiet and reflection. I love taking a trip deep into the national forest where cell phones don’t reach.
Wonder at the beauty God created is certainly one reason I’m drawn to the woods. Stumbling upon hidden waterfalls, unexpected overlooks, and beautiful stone formations can often bring me near to tears at the wonder of God’s abundant gifts. Prayer leaps spontaneously from my heart when confronted with God’s creation.
During a recent rosary, my husband reflected that the God who created this magnificent scene is the same God that allowed Himself to be crucified for us. For me, the silence and majesty of nature can evoke awe just as the most beautiful cathedral can, and prayer amidst His creation is so natural.
But the most important thing that nature does is offer a place to disconnect from the world.
I have a hard time becoming unplugged. My attachment to the 24 hour new cycle, social media, email, etc is driven by many things: work, family demands, curiosity, etc, but ultimately most of these are rooted in self centeredness and a discomfort with silence that I think the modern world has created.
I need to be unplugged completely to recharge, and nature, like a chapel, offers this chance to escape from the world. If it’s been weeks that we have not retreated to the woods in some way, I can feel myself becoming more anxious, less patient with my children, and less tolerant for sloppiness or inaccuracies at work.
Silence restores my soul and allows me to connect with God when I feel so far away. In the midst of this busy world, I often need to remind myself to slow down, find silence and pursue the face of God.