TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY North Americans live in a noisy world. Virtually wherever we go, we encounter music, television, or conversation. We perceive silence as awkward, while we babble as a way ostensibly to connect with others. We often talk incessantly throughout the day and chatter needlessly to fill the empty spaces. The desert fathers and mothers present an antidote to our world dominated by constant chatter, 24-hour newsfeeds, and ever-present background noise. ... Still waters run deep, and in challenging situations, silence—or at least pausing before speaking—leads to fewer regrets than ceaseless commentary. ... We easily become distracted and benefit from a quiet place to experience God’s presence and encounter our own temptations. As Jesus discovered in the wilderness, silence is not always quiet. Once our minds are at rest, the “monkey mind,” as the Buddhists call it, goes to work. We must cultivate silence to hear the voice of God amid the conflicting voices of culture, self-interest, and desire to please others.
—Bruce G. Epperly, The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-Filled World (Upper Room Books, 2018)
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: ... a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”
—Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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