Van Morrison is a master of sound and soul and I think it all comes from his courage to sit in silence. There's a silence that we feel in sadness and solitude and we feel it in the blues, we feel it in the spaces between Van's music. We feel it so strongly in a "hymn" like this one.
Silence scrapes the soul clean of clutter; the clutter of the past of our own regrets and failures, and the future of fears and anxieties. Silence strips us too of comforts and security, the blankets that we tell ourselves to keep wrapped around us lest we feel the cold of isolation. But we all must at some time and often sing our hymns to this silence. It's the silence before the Mystery of Life, of Existence, of our own mysterious, broken and beautiful hearts.
Blessed John Paul once wrote "To find the mystery there must be patience, interior purification, silence..." How few in the modern world, how few of us in this "Kingdom of Noise" allow ourselves to enter, to feel, to even embrace this cleansing silence. I love the heart of Van Morrison because I believe his is a heart that's allowed itself to be soaked in this silence. And with that courage the heart is solaced by the silence, by the Presence, by the One.
I wanna go out in the countryside
Oh sit by the clear, cool, crystal water
Get my spirit, way back to the feeling
Deep in my soul, I wanna feel
Oh so close to the One, close to the One
Close to the One, close to the One
And that's why, I keep on singing baby
My hymns to the silence...
I pray this new year will be for me a chance to return to that clear, cool, crystal water. To that place where the turbulence in my heart and in the world around me ceases for a time and that reflection of the Mystery, the Face of that Mystery (and therefore my own true face) will reappear.
"God speaks in the silence of the heart, and we listen. And then we speak to God from the fullness of our heart, and God listens. And this listening and this speaking is what prayer is meant to be..." - Mother Teresa
Pascal claimed that all of humanity's problems stem from our inability to sit alone, to be in silence. So let's have the courage to create a place for this sanctuary of quiet. Let's sing our hymns and see what swells up in the response, the echo from the Other Side. It just may surprise us, and continue to invite us deeper in. And we may find ourselves both emptied of our feeble sounds and filled with His New Song.