“We don’t often speak of silence, much less solitude [but]… the power of silence and solitude has been recognized throughout the history of spiritual formation. It is the purposeful separation of ourselves from the world in order to place ourselves with God. The great advantage of the evil one is his ability to assault our senses with the material world in which we live as if to drown out the distant chords from eternity’s symphony. One can only surmise that it was for this reason that Lewis’ Screwtape announces to his nephew Wormwood that one of hell’s goals is to ‘make the whole universe a noise in the end.’ Only in silence can we move past the deafening roar of the world and hear the music of God. Here it is important to remember the difference between spiritual quietness, and the mere absence of sound that creates silence. ‘Silence is the absence of sound and quiet the stilling of sound,’ writes Frederick Buechner. ‘Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen.’ The Rule of St. Benedict speaks of cultivating silence in our lives, with an entire chapter devoted to its pursuit. ‘Unless I am silent I shall not hear God,’ Esther de Waal writes in her reflections on Benedict’s Rule, ‘and until I hear him I shall not come to know him.’ James Emery White
“The silence of solitude is nothing but dead silence when it does not make us alert for a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter.” Henri Nouwen
“Guard your steps as you go to the house of God
and draw near to listen
rather than to offer
the sacrifice of fools”
“fools multiply words”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Is your world “a universe of noise?”
- Is your religious experience mostly about the power of words? (preaching, teaching, evangelizing, praying, singing, sharing, testifying)
- Do you know what it is to “hold your breath and listen” to hear “a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter?”
- Are you making space for the practice of silence and solitude in your daily and weekly schedule?
“Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again an again
For More: Serious Times by James Emery White
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”