Cardinal Robert Sarah brings an authentic witness of a contemplative living in the world. As a priest and later as a young bishop resisting threats against the Church from the Marxist dictatorship in Guinea, Africa, he developed the practice of making monthly retreats of prayer and fasting, uncovering the strength that lies hidden in silence. From his rich experiences in Carthusian monasteries, he wrote the book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.
Silence may appear weak before the strong and powerful forces of the world. But Cardinal Sarah writes that, “a man on his knees is more powerful than the world. … All you who, to the eyes of men, are without power and influence … your mission is great. It is to prevent the world from destroying itself.” Those who engage silence conquer darkness with a love that is stronger than death.
Cardinal Sarah describes the meek and humble of the earth — such as the unborn, the sick, and the elderly — as “magnificent prophets of silence” who point us to the interior world and to the God who speaks in silence. These hidden souls have been entrusted with a mission to proclaim to the world that the meaning of life is not about what we can do or produce, but about love. The vulnerable among us are prophets of love, and they make clear the words of St. John of the Cross who said, “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”
Here is one beautiful soul among our friends, family, and missions who is a true prophet of silence in our world:
Rachel was born with a genetic defect which left her blind, confined to a wheelchair, developmentally delayed, and requiring constant care. Although she speaks a few words, she communicates her love and joy through gestures, touch, and presence. Her older sister said of her, “Over the years, I have come to know her deeply, to learn to communicate with her in silence, and to love her from the depths of my being. I have experienced a purity of love that came out of her emptiness, her utter vulnerability. No one has taught me more about what God’s love is like than my sister Rachel.”
Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Winter 2019.