These posts seem to be popular, so I shall do two today. It is Lent, and such meditations may be helpful for some, including myself.
The overlap of the Carmelite, Benedictine and Dominican spiritual ways can be clearly seen in the the call to some silence during the day. Now, as busy lay people, we must create these little shells of silence so that we can hear the Voice of God, the small, still Voice. Without silence, one is not in touch with one's own soul or with God.
I have known extremely busy people. Not only are these people busy during the day, but when they come home at night, they have the television on until they go to bed. From the minute they wake up in the morning, when they turn on the radio, read the paper, run about doing necessary or unnecessary activities, these Catholics are never silent. I would be exhausted without silence.
If I do not have time in the morning and in the evening, at the very least, for reading Scripture, one of the Hours, such as Vespers, I cannot act as a serene, human being. Silence gives me grounding for the entire day, and if I practice silence, it can remain within me for the entire day. This is the beauty of silence, it becomes a wellspring of life within us, overcoming other noises and confrontations.
Silence breaks down anxiety and fear. The most fearful people I know cannot bear silence. They must keep moving, keep doing, even if they are retired. The rhythm of life which includes silence gives a richness to one's existence and keeps one from falling into superficiality.
Why some people are afraid of silence is that they are afraid of suffering. In silence, I see my sins, my failings, my failures. In silence, I face the need for conversion daily. In silence, I meet God, who is All Goodness, All Innocence, All Perfection.
Only in Faith can one approach silence, as in silence one meets the God of Mercy and Forgiveness.
I have talked with friends as to how to create more silence in their day. Some want to do so and some want to keep running away from God, which to me, is running away from Love.
Silence is never boring, as some may believe, unless one thinks God is boring. The Infinite is so beyond me, that only is silence can I meet God.
We are fast approaching Holy Week, when in the Passion of Christ, we see Him keeping silent before both the Sanhedrin and Herod. Christ said little in front of Pilate, but He was calling Pilate to Himself, and was trying to make the Roman see. Christ remained silent because He did not need to defend Himself. He is God. He is Man. He stood in silence, in Perfection, and those who judged Him unfairly could not see the Silence which stood before them, as they had never met Him in silence. Those who meet God, know Him when they see Him.
Now, a disclaimer. As an INTJ, I am scheduled. I get up at the same time everyday and I have regular habits of eating, praying, writing.
I do most of my work in the morning.
When I was in Ireland, living alone for months and months, I could pray four to six hours a day, as I was living in silence and solitude.
I love this.
But, even though it was just me, I was scheduled.
Daily Mass same time, prayers, writing, etc. only interrupted by parties at night in the flats next door, or personal illness.
Same in Malta, even though for most of the time I was sharing a flat with one other person. Daily morning Mass, prayers, breakfast, and so on....Dinner was always about the same time as well.
Recently, living with other people without schedules, people who are not INTJs but ESFPs or variations of unscheduled types, I am observing something which the ancient fathers understood. One good thing about living in community is that those who naturally gravitate towards schedules can help those who do not. Those who are more easy-going can help with the obsession some may have with schedules. It is much harder for those without schedules to become holy. Going from one activity to another as these present themselves to the mind does not allow for prayer or reflection. Merely reacting to things rather than planning or reacting to situations on impulse are methods of living which impair the way of holiness. Holiness demands scheduling. Why? Prayers, the reading of Scripture, the reading of holy books, daily Mass, or Adoration demand planning.
Those who have never had schedules, or who have avoided scheduling do not plan formation into their days.
Every semester when I was teaching college, the first thing I did was introduce my students to Time Management Skills.
I would, in some extreme cases, find up to 40 wasted hours in one week of 168 hours. I would mostly find between 17-27 wasted hours, enough time for my students to really study. They all had too much "down time" or just wasted time.
Waste is a sin.
Wasting time can create a habit of avoiding God and holiness.
Wasting time can lead one to hell.
A few days ago, I was speaking with a person who use to read the Scriptures daily for at least a half-hour.
He no longer does this. He is "too busy", "too tired".
He works, and he works hard, but his home life is not scheduled and never has been. He goes out a lot.
I see many, many elderly people out and about here-and they have lively social lives. There is nothing wrong with that, but one must face preparation for death.
Sanctity must be a cooperation between work and grace. Without a schedule, it is hard, perhaps impossible to find out who one is and who God is.
While in the monastery last year, I lived with the nuns in the silence of the day. I have tried to cooperate with grace and cultivate an interior silence outside the convent. Some of the great Benedictine writers have distilled ...
To live in silence is a gift not to be taken for granted. Silence makes us face ourselves, our sins and failings, our lack of charity. On the positive side, silence enables us to have a relationship with God. Relationships take time ...
“It was not until 1973, when we began our daily Holy Hour that our community started to grow and blossom... In our congregation, we used to have adoration once a week for one hour, and then in 1973, we decided to have ...
In this state, prayer and times outside of prayer merge into one state of being; but one must either be in actual silence, or create silence in the mind and heart. The saying yes then becomes automatic, as one can hear God ...
This is one reason why scheduling must be part of the growth in holiness. Without scheduling, one cannot be faithful, but merely act in spontaneous or knee-jerk reactions to events, things, and people. Scheduling allows ...