A rarely cited phrase from Saint John’s Gospel sheds light on the heart of Christ. That phrase, “He would not trust himself to them…”, explains the serene seriousness of his face. Saint John tells us that Christ does not place his trust in his followers, because he knows the secrets in their hearts. Each time he tries to confide in them, the response is a silly lack of understanding. Do you recall the reaction of his closest companions at the time of the Agony in the Garden? They fell asleep!
Are we any different? Do you think that Christ can place his trust in us? Would he say something different if he lived in our midst? Or would it still be: “Non credebat eis” (“he would not trust himself to them”).
The serene silence of Jesus thus flows from the secret deep within him. Moreover, he likewise enjoys times of deep joy, but they are constantly accompanied by the dreadful image of Calvary and the disappointment derived from human sinfulness. These feelings are always present together. Even at the peak of his Passion, the beatific vision perdures in the depths of his soul. Christ experiences ecstatic moments on Mount Tabor, but even during those moments in the company of Moses and Elijah, he conversed about his Passion for the redemption of sinners.
That serene silence is the hallmark of Christ.
Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus
Conference 8: Silence
Thursday 9 September 1943
Retreat for the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Pontoise
Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: Detail from an icon of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in the Russian Art and Culture collection in the Winter Palace of the State Hermitage Museum. Written in Novgorod in the first quarter of the 16th century, the materials are wood panel, canvas, and gesso; the iconographer used the time-honored technique of tempera and gilding. See the complete artwork and learn more on the museum website.