Holy Saturday: Listening to the Silent Voice of Creation

BY CHRISTINA LEAÑO | April 3, 2021
Today’s Readings

Today we sit in the silence of the tomb.

It is a place of unknowing. A space between desolation and hope. Like Mary Magdalene in today’s Gospel, we wait for the stone to be rolled away, not knowing what we will see inside.

This is a space I have experienced in my work for climate and ecological justice. As I reflect on the uncertain future my 7 year old daughter might inherit or the thousands of plant and animal species she may never see, I can enter a space of unknowing and desolation. Yet, impelled by faith, I am drawn to keep an eye of hope on the horizon.

Holy Saturday, Listening to the Silent Voice of Creation

How might we make friends with this silence, this time of waiting?

In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis shares that the “contemplation of creation allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us…to listen to a paradoxical and silent voice” (Laudato Si’ 85). 

I have heard, through contemplating trees, the consoling message to “keep going” and “you are not alone” in my ecological ministry.

In the Genesis creation story, we read the message of abundant life emerging from “a formless wasteland.” (Genesis 1:1). 

If we could glance outside our window or take a slow walk in nature what message might we hear in the paradoxical and silent voice of nature? Perhaps bare trees silently preparing to burst forth in the spring. A shoot making its way through a crack in the sidewalk. Or hibernating animals about to emerge from their slumber. 

We might discover that in those wordless Words, Christ is there, in the silence and darkness, preparing to meet us in His glory to bring new life.  

For Reflection: 

  • Today, as we await the Resurrection, spend time with nature. What signs of hope do you see on this day of silence, of waiting? 
4 replies
  1. Chuck C Conner
    Chuck C Conner says:

    Dear Ms. Leano ,
    Thank you for your inspiring words and actions. Your phrase “the paradoxical and silent voice of nature”, really spoke to me. I just heard Fr. James Martin speak of the many types of prayer. I find that nature and all of creation are such wonderful evidence of God’s immense power and love. If one is simply open to this revelatory experience, I think it can be spiritually deepening in a most profound way. Your work to educate us about and protect these God given wonders is so important. I can hear sadness and discouragement in your words about what is being wasted and lost forever. I know though, that you will continue to listen to those trees when they remind all of us to, “Keep going. You are not alone.” The task is daunting and the possible consequences of not changing our ways, so haunting, but that only makes it more imperative to carry on your good and crucial work. God blesses you for your work, and will give you the strength of will and spirit to persevere. We’ll have to work very hard to accomplish this of course, but in the final analysis, we also must hope and pray that enough of mankind wakes up before it’s too late to save life as we know it, on this little rock, hurtling through the cosmos. In the meantime, the brave ones like yourself, with the foresight to see our imminent destruction, may yet accomplish that “wake up call”, God grant it be so.

    Well, as the “Brits” are fond of saying, ” Keep calm and carry on.” Thank you for all that you do and may God’s peace be always with you and yours.

    Chuck Conner

  2. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    On this day of silence and waiting I will spend time contemplating the beauty of the newly formed daffadoils, the tulips, the magnolias and all that is in my neighborhood. I will remember in this quiet time the awesomeness of God’s creation and thank Him for it. I will think of the beauty of the sky and the lake and all the beauty of the Universe. I will read the words of the Pope in Laudato Si and the many ways that others have written about caring for our planet. Being at one with God in His goodness and mercy and asking Him to steer us in the right direction so our Universe will be taken care of by all of us for this generation and the many generations to come. We ask this to our heavenly Father.

    • Richard sullivan
      Richard sullivan says:

      God is victorious and He is in charge of everything. Still Evil does exist and causes great destruction and pain and suffering as we have seen reenacted this Holy Week. But tomorrow we celebrate with all of Creation that God lives despite His death on the cross by evil persons. He lives. His Creation will be the Resurrected.

  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Nice thoughts. Even in silence and darkness, nature, trees, flowers, mountains, birds and rivers sing praises to the Risen Lord.


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