“I will hear what God proclaims” (Ps 85:9), says the psalmist. So already pious Israelites practiced silence by giving space to God to talk to them. Young Samuel in the silence of the night heard a voice, and instructed by Eli, he answered the calling, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10). St. Joseph also listened to the Lord’s voice through an angel, who appeared to him in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” (Mt 1:20). When the Magi departed the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in his dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt…“ (Mt 2:13).
At the age of fourteen, Elizabeth Eppinger received the Holy Communion for the first time. “It was sacrifice for her to be in the noise among the others” because she wanted to be alone with her God and listen to Him. (PERRIN, J.:The Life of Mother Alphonse-Marie, p. 13) Later, she heard the inner voice, “Be at peace, my child. You are totally mine …“ (Ibid, p. 15) In her sufferings, she precisely listened to both her priest and God. The Lord told her, “I will unite myself more and more with you. But you must listen to the slightest intimations of your heart and to the most delicate inspiration of your conscience, for it is I who am speaking to your heart and instructing your conscience” (Ibid, p. 24). The Blessed Virgin told her, “Go to the priest … that the rosary should be recited each evening in the church” (Ibid, p. 26). Blessed Alphonse Marie listened most perfectly, especially during visions and ecstasies. In them, besides instructions for the visitors, the Lord allowed her to know the form and the manner in which it was to be established. “In the new Order that you will establish, you will have to teach the others how they are to conduct themselves in such trials.”“Suffer, be silent and pray!“ (Ibid, p. 32; 42). During the years of leading the new Congregation which she founded, Blessed Alphonse Marie also listened to the voice of her Divine Spouse very carefully, “Place great importance on silence, always speak calmly. Ask me and I will tell you what to say and what to do. I will always be by you with grace.” (Ibid, p. 53). „… prepare these hearts (her Sisters). Teach them the way and the means of self denial; teach them to renounce themselves more and more. Encourage them to interior humility and silence, so that they may better perceive my voice in their hearts.” (Ibid, p. 56). “Be careful to let not a single complaint fall from your lips because of the burden which you must endure for the sake of this work. … I will act. You must suffer and be silent.” (Ibid, p. 60) “Behold, my daughter, my Father, St. Joseph, will be the special protector and patron of this house, This Order will receive many graces through his intercession, yes, very special graces. (Ibid, p. 62) When a spell of weakness and exhaustion forced her to bed, she could hardly speak, and her face burned with fever, her confessor encouraged her, “God wants you to work for his glory and the salvation of others whom He will send here. Your spiritual daughters are praying to St. Joseph for you.” (Ibid, p. 60). Surely, St. Joseph listened to the prayer of the Sisters for their spiritual mother, because in the morning she already felt better, so she got up and walked to the chapel without help. This is also a clear example that St. Joseph doesn’t speak but acts.
Let us go into silence. Let us open the ear of our interior to a quiet whisper of the Lord.
He will please, strengthen and direct our steps and acts.