By: Deacon Marques Silva
There is something profound about the sound of the breaking waves of an ocean upon the seashore. I really cannot explain why it is except to say that I sense that if I had “ears to hear,” I would be able to perceive the voice of our Lord.
J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Silmarillion seemed to infer the same when he wrote:
“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.”
Sacred Scripture provides a number of references relating to either the voice of the Lord or His coming:
“When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightnings for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses” (Jer 10:13).
“And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still, they let down their wings” (Ez 1:24).
“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east; and the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory” (Ez 43:2).
“And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpers playing on their harps” (Rev 14:2).
When on vacation in the Outer Banks, my family has a tradition of every evening walking up to the pier and listening to the breaking of the waves. We just stand there for about an hour just watching and listening. It is peaceful. It is calming. It is awe-filled. There is power and gentility. There is the swell of a wave that bellows with a mighty roar as it begins to break and then ends in a gentle trickle of the sea foam upon the sand.
What is it about the sound of the ocean that refreshes us and seems to fill us with joy? Why do we quiet down to listen so intently? I think we are built to recognize the voice of the Lord or even its echoes; sometimes in the roar of the mighty waters (Ps 93:4) and at other times in a gentle whisper (1 Kgs 19:12). Maybe it is another way in which the Lord draws us to Himself though creation (CCC 32) in order to open us to the possibility of hearing His voice in the depths of our souls.
We are now in August and fall is quickly approaching. The summer has been busy, and not necessarily with work but play. Are we taking regular time to listen for the voice of He “who has measured the waters in the hallow of his hand…” (Is 40:12)? He desires so much to speak us. Do we have ears to hear? May we answer like Samuel when we perceive His voice in the depths of our hearts: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Sm 3:9).