March is the Month of Silence
The Second Sunday of Lent is known as “Blessed Silence Sunday” at St. Simeon Skete. In the readings for that Sunday, it says “But He answered not a word” (Matthew 15:23).
“Invoke the Name of God, that’s all we can do on our side until God responds and leaves us wondering in silence. But that moment of silence changes all sounds. After a certain time, we were embellished by misery and certitude grew.”– Seraphim (concerning our time in Egypt).
Sometimes silence says more than words.
And for us at Nazareth House Apostolate it means we are doing our work, doing that which we are called to do.
I can’t type the word “silence” without thinking of the Icon that is in every cell here at St. Simeon Skete.
The Icon of “Blessed Silence” – The Blagoe Molchanie – encountering God in Silence.
The Blagoe (Good) Molchanie (Silence) depicts Christ as an Angel with an eight-pointed “glory” imposed on the Halo, the eighth point being hidden by the head.
The seven points symbolize the six days of Creation and the day on which God rested. The eighth point is the Day of Eternity. This very rare bronze Icon represents Christ as the Word in Eternity where words are not needed. Isaiah 9:5, considered by some as referring to Christ, calls him the “Messenger / Angel of Great Counsel”. The Silence of God is surrounded by Saints in roundels, with the Deisis (depicts the Lord flanked by His Mother on His Right and His Baptizer immediately at His left) at the top.
The Vine intertwines all of the fruited branches. The Saints are the fruit of silence – His Grapes.
Christ reminds us that silence is not the absence of sound, but the profound full language of Heaven, for Saint Isaac the Syrian says – “Silence is the language of the age to come, but words are instruments of this world.” -Homily 65. It is an icon for monastics and those who practice the Jesus Prayer. It is a symbol of the hidden spiritual life of a soul in Christ.