Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Silence is Golden

I have wondered what the purpose of The Grand Silence is in monasteries aside from providing the kind of solitude conducive to the contemplative life. It occurred to me that at least part of the reason is because talk is such a dangerous thing for all of us, even those living the cloistered life. In the secular world, where so many of us feel the need to vent, myself included, I wish we, too had a Grand Silence. It's human to want to discuss our feelings and frustrations. What's harder is to offer those who present challenges to us in our daily lives in prayer and be thankful to the Lord for putting them in our paths. As Jesus said, what good is it if we love only those who love us? The more difficult someone is, the more of an opportunity they present for us to put matters in God's hands through prayer and the kind of self-control necessary to "keep things to ourselves."

It was the poet Emily Dickinson who wrote:

"We must be careful what we say; no bird resumes its egg."

And the less we say, somehow the better off we are, especially in difficult situations. I've made an Advent Resolution to myself today that the next time I feel the need to "vent", I will do so through prayer, and in particular for the person or persons who make life difficult.

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