Need for Silence
In a world of noise we often find ourselves caught up within its hum. I’m not talking about the noisy clatter of car horns, people talking, or otherwise; no, I am talking about the “noise” of distraction. This world offers many things that can be considered good but in truth much of it is distraction. Entertainment, pleasure, and wonder has the ability to take our minds off of the inner state of our lives and if we do not take time to separate ourselves from such distractions, we may find ourselves feeling incomplete or in wanting. This is why we need to give ourselves a retreat. A retreat of silence so that we may hear God’s voice for His will.
I mentioned the phrase, “separate ourselves from such distractions”, meaning from the passions of the world. And the need for silence is often an element of the cure from the soul-tie to these distractions but not silence in itself is not the end-all-be-all. So what’s the difference between going out to the forest to sit in silence as opposed to giving pause to listen for God? Well, one massive difference is purely a human solution where a man may leave all his belongings to reside in a more primitive environment to avoid modernity and connection to nature. This in itself isn’t bad as God did create nature and does have a kind of peace attached to it but this isn’t the silence that will endure. For as long as you live in this place your mind will always be attached to what you seek to run from. The wants and desires of your undisciplined passions may be placed on the back burner for now but it shall return with greater urgency later. No, what I mean to share with you is not a simple road trip to beautiful scenery but a practice of opposition against wayward thoughts and distractions from fulfilling your vocations. Notice I made the distinction between “running away” from the noise and “standing up” to the noise. As men, this line of thinking must always be so, as we who are baptized and Confirmed in His Faith are to be Soldiers of Christ. Therefore, the attitude of holy warfare must always be our standard.
Recognizing that warring against the noise is the appropriate mind set, we must also recognize that without organizing ourselves for this task will ultimately spell defeat for us. For how can a solider preparing for battle not array himself in the armor and weapons he needs to overcome his enemy? And since we recognize that the devices of Satan are to ensnare us, and one of his devices is the noise we speak of at this moment. Therefore, knowing that noise is an element of the enemy we fight against this horde of confusion by way of holy silence. Meditation, is one way of understanding holy silence. We do this often (or at least we should!) when we pray. It is not enough to simply say words that we may have learned in our childhood but rather to focus on those holy words and use our God given imagination to paint a holy picture. St. Padre Pio once said,
“He who does not meditate acts as one who never looks into a mirror and so does not bother to put himself in order, since he can be dirty without knowing it. The person who meditates and turns his thoughts to God Who is the mirror of his soul, seeks to know his defects and tries to correct them, moderates himself in his impulses and puts his conscience in order.”
You may complain and say, “But in a busy life that we all have…How are we supposed to take time and meditate?!” I will let St. Francis De Sales answer that one,
“Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer every day, except when we are busy—then we need an hour.”
In other words, do not be so effeminate! An effeminate man, loosely defined, is one will not do what is hard, even for his own benefit. How can you hope to achieve anything with blood, sweat, and tears? But relax, in our busy times, yes, we do have to make time to meditate on holy things. Notice throughout your day the moments that slow down. Perhaps when your driving, or waiting on someone or something, or in the shower or in the morning and before bed. Your mind shall always be a battlefield and the more you train your mind on the things of God the more you will put in order your soul. We are to form ourselves to God’s will if we are to realize what is best for us. Thus Christ revealed to us His will, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its Justice and everything else will be given to you.” So in conclusion, let St. Padre Pio’s words of valor resonate within you,
“Ahead! Courage! In the spiritual life he who does not advance goes backward. It happens as with a boat which always must go ahead. If it stands still the wind will blow it back!”
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