Sirach, Chapter 19, Verse 10
Let anything you hear die with you; never fear, it will not make you burst!
Today might be a good day to make a silent retreat. Shut off the TV, radio and try to obtain silence. In the modern world it is indeed difficult to find silence and when we do we fidget because our mind is so addicted to constant stimulation it drives us crazy and we fidget. Never fear you will not burst.
Silence: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46: 10)
Here is an excerpt from Ask a Carmelite Sister…
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.
For one eight-day silent retreat, the retreat master, who happened to be Father Thomas Dubay, SM, spoke about the opposite of silence. He concentrated on speech, on WHAT we CHOOSE to say and WHEN we choose to say it.
I still have my notes from that memorable eight-day retreat. Each point was an eye-opener for me. You may find this helpful in your quest. So, here are my notes from conferences given by Father Dubay, who divided the topic into two sections:
Obvious Sins of the Tongue
Unrealized Faults of Speech
1. Obvious Sins of the Tongue
“In a multitude of words, sin is not lacking” (Proverbs 10:19).
· Detraction – speaking about another persons’ faults (that are true) without a good reason (Sirach 21).
· Calumny – which is speaking about a persons’ faults (that are not true).
· Bickering – speaking nasty or biting remarks
· Nagging – the constant complaining, scolding or urging about a fault even if it is true; to find fault constantly (Proverbs 21:9).
· Ego-centrism – constantly referring to what I did, what I said, etc. Constantly talking about ME
· Breaking confidences – for there are natural secrets that should not be spread; people have a right to their reputation (Proverbs 11:13)
· Dominating a conversation to prove a point – and most of the time we are unaware we are doing this.
· Salacious talks/jokes – which has to do with speaking impurely (Ephesians 5:3-4).
2. Unrealized Faults of Speech
· Talking can be a big waste of time – when the talking is empty and gossipy (Matt. 12:36)
· Neglecting the spiritual in our speaking with others – which is the main business of our lives (Ps. 25:15; Eph. 1: Col. 3:12; Eph. 5:18-20)
· Dissipation and draining of our psychic energies – leaving us fatigued, distracted, and unable to do our tasks at hand
· Bad example – to our family, friends, co-workers, but especially to our children
· Excessive comfort-seeking through words – which includes talking over and over again about one’s hurts
· Excusing ourselves – when we should not
· Vain discussions – when our time could be better spent (2 Tim. 2:16-17)
· Meddling in others’ affairs (2 Thess. 3:11-12)
How to Overcome Sins of the Tongue
1. Daily prayer.
2. Frequent Confession and Holy Communion.
3. Pray for the grace to recognize all of the sins of the tongue — some are obvious, some are subtle.
4. Pray for the grace to keep silent during discussion of a bad situation.
5. Pray for the grace to keep silent during discussion of another person.
6. Just keep silent.
RULE: NEVER pass on derogatory or uncomplimentary information about anyone, unless the Word of God has given you the specific authority and responsibility to do so, and the person you are informing likewise has responsibility in the situation and a need to know the information.
Of course, the reason we have times of silence is so that we may turn our conversation toward God. The silence we are speaking of is a prayerful, expectant waiting silence. Our world has too much noise in it today, and if we are really honest, each one of us could probably say that our hearts do also. When we do speak, let us be more attentive to what we say, why we are saying it, and how it affects others.
Thank you for your question and until next time,
Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.
Valentine's Day is a celebration of love and friendship. The holiday derived its name from two Roman martyrs for love, both named Valentine. The first Valentine was beheaded on February 14th, but not before leaving a note signed from your Valentine for his lady. The second Valentine was supposedly a bishop who secretly married young couples, an act that was forbidden by the Roman Emperor who wanted young men to first serve as soldiers before marrying. Valentine ignored the law and was beheaded on February 14. An ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia, a celebration for which young men randomly chose the name of a young girl to escort to the festivities, has also been linked to the origins of Valentine's Day. Since then, the custom of selecting a sweetheart on February 14th has spread through Europe and its colonies and transformed itself into the celebration of love and friendship that we know today.
Valentine's Day Facts & Quotes
· Symbols for Valentine's day include hearts, chocolate, flowers, and Cupid - the Roman God of Love.
· 52% of US consumers will send out at least 1 Valentine's Day card, 47% will send candy, and 34% will send flowers.
· Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind. And therefore, is winged Cupid painted blind. - William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Valentine's Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Send someone you care for a Valentine's Day card. Take the time to write a small note or love poem inside. Sign it, from your Valentine.
· Go to a special romantic dinner with your sweetheart. Tip: Book early as this is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants.
· Watch the movie Valentine's Day (2010) or the Notebook (2004). Both are romance movies with star casts.
· Send a Secret Valentine to someone several days before, and then reveal your identity on February 14th.
· Remember other important people in your life, such as your parents, grandparents and old friends. Send them a small card or gift to remind them of how much you care.
Catholic Things to Do
· Read the Golden Legend account of St. Valentine's life.
· Pray to St. Valentine for an increase of true, sacrificial love within marriages.
· Make Valentines for those closest to you — your family and friends. If you have children, teach them to make valentines from red construction paper and doilies.
· Begin to read and discuss some of St. John Paul II's works on marriage; for example, Love and Responsibility or his The Theology of the Body Human Love in the Divine Plan (Parish Resources).
US Disunion of State and Faithful Citizenship
Unfortunately, politics in our country often can be a contest of powerful interests, partisan attacks, sound bites, and media hype. The Church calls for a different kind of political engagement: one shaped by the moral convictions of well-formed consciences and focused on the dignity of every human being, the pursuit of the common good, and the protection of the weak and the vulnerable. As Pope Francis reminds us, "Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good. . . . I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!" (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 205). The Catholic call to faithful citizenship affirms the importance of political participation and insists that public service is a worthy vocation. As citizens, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group. When necessary, our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths or approve intrinsically evil acts. We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a civilization of truth and love.