Father Thomas Keating, Trappist Monk and Father of what we know as Centering prayer, is my new mentor in becoming more contemplative and less confrontational. Don’t laugh. Even though my personality is centered in movement and chattiness, my soul has been aching and drawn to just the opposite.
Our world, which is so loud and full of angst layered with contempt and hatred found a way, snuck in, and started to spill over into my living room, my kitchen and my office. Slowly and stealthily over the past past few months, our peace filled home became a hot mess. In actuality, I became a hot mess, irritable, had difficulty sleeping, and my empathy meter waned. Something had to change.
I came to a screeching halt. there is a better way; we just need to submit. Enter my friend Father Keating, “Silence is God’s first language. Everything else is a poor translation.” To sit and listen, in the quiet, for not just mere seconds, or minutes but thirty minutes? An hour? Call me crazy, but isn’t that just lazy? Ahhh, my soul found a way to rest in God, for real. I started breathing again. I began to listen to just God. For me God’s voice is not the big booming thunder clap, nor is it an audible human voice, but more of a deep knowing and completeness. Hard to understand, and I don’t really expect you to’ as my experience of God is mine alone, and you might, probably will have a different experience.
In the last two weeks, the TV is quiet. At least, the channels have changed, more National Geographic, Great British Baking Show, more public TV, no commercials, and more reading, more sitting in quiet, listening and inviting God’s voice. Glorious! I think that Father Keating tried to teach us about consenting to God’s presence and action within.
This next week will be a good, good week, beginning with Saturday and remembering the day of Re-formation and then Sunday and the remembrance of All Saints Day. In our faith community, we honor and celebrate, the first Sunday of November, all those who have came before us who have strengthened our faith journey, those whose lives have made us who we are and reminded us of whose we are. Tuesday, of course is the election, I will spend much of the day in prayer, in silence. Wednesday, we will wake up and the world will be the same, the sun will rise, the clocks will turn and we will all have a choice to make whether to love or to hate. We will have a choice to listen to God, or to remain mired down in our own thoughts of fear and angst.
Next week can be a good week to listen to God, and to love our neighbor, ourselves, creation and God.
Keating’s last words are still profound and true today, as if he had written them for this moment. Let them be so.
Dear friends: In the universe, an extraordinary moment of civilization seems to be overtaking us. . . . It’s a time of enormous expectancy and possibility.
We are called to start—not with the old world contracts, now that we know that they are all lies—but [with] what we know as the truth. . . .  So I call upon the nations to consider this as a possibility: that we should begin a new world with one that actually exists. This is the moment to manifest this world, by showing loving concern for poverty, loving appreciation for the needs of the world, and opportunities for accelerated development. We need to find ways to make these really happen. 
Thomas Keating, Fr. Thomas Keating’s Last Oracle (Contemplative Network: 2020), transcription (October 2018), YouTube video.
May your week be filled with hope, not angst, with love and not fear, may you find rest in listening to God, however God shows up.

Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www. rolcommunity.com