"In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves;
- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Noise and over-activity are enemies of self development and contentment. Distraction of the mind can become abstraction of the mind if not held in check. The medieval priest and writer,
Thomas a Kempis, wrote an entire chapter in his Christian classic book The Imitation of Christ entitled "The Love of Silence and solitude". It begins with this:
Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)
"Set aside an opportune time for deep reflection and think often about God's many benefits to you. Give up all light and frivolous matters, and read what inspires you to repentance of soul and not just entertains you."
There is great wisdom in these words. They may puzzle a frivolous generation. Why set aside time for deep reflection or read that This is the Facebook generation that prefers gossip and chatter and seeks to be solely entertained in spare time. It is an age that has lost the ability to listen to silence and gain the internal rewards that can come from it.
Noise! Noise! Noise and clamor fill our waking hours. It is an imperative to intentionally retreat from it all for the sake of our emotional and spiritual balance. We should follow Pope Benedict's directions: "... it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of 'eco-system' that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds."
For obvious reasons I am often unable to go far into the natural world. My wheelchair may get stuck in a forest or bog down in the sand along a lake. But God has given me a hedged backyard in which to convalesce or rest in the spring, summer and autumn. It is all I need.
|Time with my|
I return to my peaceful backyard. It is night. I am alone yet not alone. The fire dies into glowing embers and I sit in the darkness: tranquil, content, happy. Which is more: the serenity of the starry sky above me or the serenity within my heart? God's peace descends upon my open soul. I adore Him. Nothing more needs to be said. Another day concludes.
[Click on image below or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJMaOxdu6B4 for Aled Jones, "Be Still For The Presence of the Lord.]