The litter of words in the world smother the ears of our hearts. Our souls long for one tonic cleansing voice that sounds out our true names above the rubbish of our lives’ noise. We long to hear the truth inviting us to enter a field shining with goodness and beauty that is paradoxically suffusing from the sounds of silence. Without the Holy Spirit’s music, we cannot dance. Without hearing the one Word, we cannot speak.
Only in Jesus can we access the voice of our spiritual master. Only the Holy Spirit bursts through the babble that stifles our hopes. Only Jesus is the gate (John 10:1-10). He hears our yearning voices and his Spirit calls to our hearts’ cries. Without his voice our ears are restless and nothing makes sense until the Spirit is translating Jesus’ words for our salvation.
Jesus reveals the meaning of our human lives as a movement of continually expanding borders toward community in God. His voice is the largest horizon of our true ends. When anyone is attempting to decode the Lord’s voice for others, their mouths can only stutter with the Spirit’s inspiration.
In his book on Saint Paul, The Epistle to the Romans, Protestant theologian Karl Barth has famously enunciated the fragile, complicated mumbling in the voice of a true disciple of Jesus who does indeed have a partial something to say about what ultimately can never be fully said. To paraphrase Barth, when pilgrims on the road to God meet one another, what one of them says to another is most valuable when its saying is poor, the words trembling with only hopes and fears, as the pilgrim tries to voice what is beyond the horizon of what can be said and beyond the pilgrim’s power to say it properly. The importance of a true disciple of Jesus’ speech about God is important for ultimately being negative. In the frail speech of the Lord’s apostles a void in truth that points to fulfillment elsewhere is always being made visible (The Epistle to the Romans (Oxford, 1968): 33-34).
Junk speech can glitter; Jesus’ disciples know all merely human words are noise. The Word of God sounds brightly beyond our babble now and forever more. The Lord is risen; the Holy Spirit, given. Let all mortal flesh keep silent before words for our salvation that reveal the word of Jesus as holy, wholly new and true.
By Jonathan Montaldo