Fishing in the Sea of the Passion: Silence

Go fishing for the jewels and pearls of all the virtues in the depth of the sea of the Passion of Christ...
— St. Paul of the Cross

St. Paul of the Cross founded the first retreat of the Passionist Congregation on Monte Argentario, overlooking the sea. As he developed his spiritual teaching through letters of direction, he often drew of images of the sea to explain his ideas, and especially referred to Christ’s Passion as a sea of suffering and love from which we can draw out all the virtues.

There is a beautiful Catholic tradition of meditating on the “7 last words” of Jesus on Good Friday, the sermon He gave as He hung on the Cross. But the fact that we can number His final sayings points to another aspect of the Passion worth pondering - the silence that wrapped Our Lord throughout His trial, crucifixion, and death.

You ought to carry the Passion of Christ in your heart conserving internal solitude and loving silence.
— St. Paul of the Cross
But Jesus was silent.
— Matthew 26:63 (RSV)

Few words are recorded of Christ during His Passion. Unjustly condemned, He does not speak out to defend Himself and argue His case. Mocked and abused, He does not return insult or protest the harsh treatment. In this, His silence is a model of self-control - to speak only what is truly necessary and to bear patiently with suffering. Yet there is another element to His silence. It is a silence of intense interior prayer, of deep union with the Father as Christ consummates His self-offering.

How can I foster greater silence in my life?

What are some situations in which I can practice the silence of self-control? Perhaps when I am annoyed or am tempted to argue with others?

Can I take a few minutes of silence after Mass to focus on the gift of the Eucharist and to offer myself in union with Christ?

The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.