Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Father John Konkle continues…
Strive to be like Mary, doing the one thing needful – listening with her whole being. But do not pretend that you are unlike Martha, distracting yourself with much busyness, being troubled and worried about many things. There is an outer stillness, a stillness of the body, and an inner stillness, a stillness of the soul. Being distracted with activities disturbs your outer stillness. Being anxious and fearful disturbs your inner stillness. The two are coupled, and early in one’s regimen they are inseparable…” See Luke 10:38-41 and The Ladder pg. 261-262
Stillness. Rest. Quiet. The seemingly elusive ‘trinity‘ of spiritual necessity, the prerequisites of contemplation that our culture lacks, and yet ardently, if not unknowingly desires, represents the very first rung of the “stepstool” of the divine ascent. How many of us eagerly look up the ladder of progress to the last step, and desire to take the easy way, to bypass, jump and skip steps 1-25, and demand that we should simply leap up to the top. Besides, who has time for steps one to ten anyway? We need to get with it, to get to the ‘real stuff’, to achieve great things in very little time, with very little effort.
Is this not the American way?
Enormous expectations, little effort. Huge demands, little commitment. Ours truly is a society of “great expectations“, for on the one hand we believe and buy the lie, that we can dine daily on ample amounts of sugar, salt, trans fats, carbs, and calories with no limit or restraint, and yet, we demand that the should be no consequences, and we expect a simple quick fix “pill” to pop, that will rid us of our unsightly body bulges which is the end product of a sugary carbohydrated and trans fatty life. I want my cake… and I want to eat it… and eat lots of it as well.
Not so in the spiritual world.
The 3oth rung of the Divine Ladder of Ascent cannot be realized without taking a first step, without a humble beginning up to step number one: stillness, quiet, rest. In the actual text of “The Divine Ladder”, the first step is called “Turning Our Backs to the World“, a renunciation of the chaos and busyness, and a turning to silence and the still small voice of God. There is no way around it: in order to progress one must master each step, and it all begins with the practice of attaining silence and stillness.
“How does this happen?” Especially in our iPhone, smart phone, app driven, 24/7 online, LED/LCD 46″ jumbo TV world in which we live?
Calm the senses, quiet the body, and at first the mind will become tranquil – then come distractions, and then storms, inner storms. The initial stillness is a resting place for God from which He reveals to you what is yet deeper in your soul. How you respond to the storms, to God’s revelation about yourself, determines whether you are willing to be led by Him into the deeper regions of your own heart – or whether you will descend into despondency to be ravaged by the devil.
In a word filled with distractions. With constant white noise that falsely makes us feel ‘connected‘ and ‘busy‘ and ‘productive‘, we witness Satan doing his wicked work: for in the satanic hyper-busyness of our so-called ‘living’, we are in reality dying. To climb the heights – we must begin with one step: stillness – silence; the rest and trust that an infant has for their every need.
Come to Me all you who labor, are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest… My peace I leave you, My peace I give to you, a peace that the world cannot give… Jesus of Nazareth.