The Call to Silence. Even before COVID entered my life, I have felt a greater call to make time for Silence. At first, this surprised me. After all, I make a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament every day, as well as stop to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (the prayer all priest promise to pray every day for the church and the world) five times a day. I also pray the daily Rosary. All of these involve silence. What was the Lord asking me to do now?
Some years ago, Cardinal Sarah (an African born Cardinal who oversees the rules for the Sacraments for the Universal church) wrote a powerful book called The Power of Silence. Here he spoke of the Dictatorship of Noise. Thanks to modern technology, it is almost impossible for modern men and women to live in silence. Not only that but silence has become foreign to us. It, at times, even disturbs us because it can be deafening.
Yet we existed in our mother’s womb for 9 months, mostly in silence. Silence is necessary to quiet the mind and clear it to hear the voice of God. Yes, periods of silent prayer can do much, but even with this, we often cannot quiet the mind, which is constantly reminding us of the noise we are now fasting from. So, the interior noise we have just entered can be more deafening than the exterior noise.
I found the Lord calling me to spend more of my car rides in silence. More of my meals (when alone) in silence and in the evenings, the call to read more without the background music I like to play. But then came a new temptation. What if I listen to more religious music and podcasts while in the car, eating alone, or in the replacement of reading? To this, the Lord pointed out again He wanted me to break away from even these. Not that I could not occasionally enjoy them, but that He did not want them to dominate my life. Why? Because in order to be more recollected (self-possessed, calm, serene), I needed to live more in silence throughout my day, especially with a busy schedule like mine.
Though it has been difficult and with many starts, failures, and restarts, I have found it to have a profound effect on my mind and heart. It has also benefited my ability to concentrate better and to have a better prayer. I have felt the Lord calling me to call more of you, to turn off the technology more, and to turn on the silence. To enter a place of solitude with the Lord and to hear the natural noises that the Lord has planted in our life. In this way, you too will be more recollected, which, according to Websters Dictionary, means you will be, “Synonyms calm, collected, composed, cool, cool-headed, equal, level, limpid, peaceful, placid, possessed, sedate, self-composed, self-possessed, serene, smooth, together, tranquil, undisturbed, unperturbed, unruffled, unshaken, untroubled, unworried.” Who could not use more of any of these in our busy, hectic, noise-filled lives? Silence is an invitation and a gift. May you accept the call to it.
Your Brother and Father in Christ,