My Lord Jesus was silent before the scribes and Pharisees when they accused him, silent before his judges when they questioned him, silent before those who punished him with torture and crucifixion. Even today, he is silent before the wicked and shameless men who challenge him every day and every hour. If this is so, then plainly that silence of his is full of grace and truth.
The true tree of life is the fruitful silence of Jesus. It drew its patience from the true fount of Wisdom, unknown to the wise of this world, and it said to the Father, For you, O Lord, are my patience; and again: Lord God, you are my helper, and so I am not put to shame, so I have set my face like flint. The patience of Jesus is a flint, flint-hard and yet anointed with the oil of gladness, and so very gentle.
Which of you, dearest brothers, will give his heart to being a loving imitator of this scared silence? Who will enter the school of hidden philosophy and sit at Jesus’ feet? Who will fix his whole attention on Jesus’ lips and catch the drops of myrrh distilling from them to water the earth? And at the sight of Jesus keeping his peace in such tranquility, who of you is willing to put his finger to his own lips, to rank himself with kings whom admiration of his virtue and generous desire imitate it, induced to shut his own lips because of him?
That silence of his is a living and effectual word and it is those who have ears to hear, who hear it. Utterly remote from that silence are murmuring and complaint, remote are gnawing grief, the constriction of fear and jealous rage, remote are threats and reproaches.
The mouth of the just man, says Solomon, has brought forth Wisdom. Would you like to know what the mouth of the just man brought forth by keeping silent and what was the fruit of that bringing forth? The hands which men had stretched out on the cross, he stretched out to the Father, and from the infinite riches of his patience he cried out this word of love: Father, he said, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
John of Forde, On the Song of Songs, Sermon 22, CF 39, pp 103-106.