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.
But 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 a 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 will give your heart to being a loving imitator of this sacred silence? Who will enter that school of hidden philosophy, and sit at Jesus’ feet? Who will fix their whole attention on Jesus’ mouth and catch the drops of myrrh distilling from it to water the earth? And at the sight of Jesus keeping his peace in such tranquility, who of you is willing to put your finger to your own mouth?
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 this just man brought forth by keeping silence, and what the fruit was of that bringing forth? The hands which men had stretched out on the cross, he stretched out to his 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, II, Sermon 22, v. 3,4 (CF 39, pp. 103-106)