Friday, February 14, 2020
Sins and Faults of the Tongue: To Speak or not to Speak – That is the QuestionDear Sister,
There is a lot of noise around me – constantly. So much chatter. It seems to me that conversations in general are getting more superficial. I’m reminded of the title of one Shakespeare’s plays. It seems to fit what I am trying to say – Much Ado about Nothing. What are your thoughts?
Ah! Much Ado about Nothing. Well said!
I hear a longing in your question – a longing for something deeper, restorative and spiritual. To fulfill this longing, we must all try, even though it is not so easy in today’s culture, to re-discover the healing power of silence. As Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak.”
Each one of my Carmelite Sisters, including myself, is required to make an eight-day silent retreat yearly. When we first entered Carmel, silence was difficult for us. It was new. Many of us spend our first eight-day retreat simply meditating with growing astonishment that anyone could even keep quiet for eight full days, and how were we ever going to get through it? Of course, throughout the years, we have all come to love it.
There are two kinds of silence – exterior and interior silence. Each complements the other. Each makes the other possible. Both bring you closer to God. We learn to keep still and quiet so that we may pray. It doesn’t take long to realize that the external silence, once achieved, reveals all those interior noises that converge within our minds. The Carmelite way is a way of profound prayer and we all find out soon enough that our interior thoughts can be very noisy. I’ve heard from people who had tried the hermit way of life, and left it because the silence uncovered so much of their interior noise. As they put it, it uncovered too much.