Century Marks

Listen up: Judaism is a noisy religion, according to Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain: Jews pray together loudly. They study scripture in groups, and argue passionately with each other. But sometimes, says Sacks, you learn something about your own religion through an encounter with another one. Sacks tells a story about Mother Teresa, who, when asked by an interviewer what she says to God when she prays, replied: “I don’t say anything. I just listen.” When the interviewer asked what she hears God say, Mother Teresa answered: “He doesn’t say anything. He just listens. And if you can’t understand that, I can’t explain it to you.” Sacks concludes that though there are many words in faith, “there is also a listening beyond words, a silence that gives meaning to speech. In that silence, we know and are known by God” (Celebrating Life, Continuum).

 

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