Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Silence is Golden. . . .

Or so they say. I have had a couple of days of quiet, especially after the kids went back to school. Its a bit unusual for me since having kids, my days are pretty noise filled, sound filled, and voice filled.

Today I watched the movie "Into Great Silence" in the midst of a quiet day. It is the movie we are going to discuss at revgalblogpals for Feb along with the book " An Infinity of Hours." by Nancy Klien MacGuire. I wasn't sure what it was going to be like to watch a film in silence for three hours, and yet it was well worth the time. It actually didn't seem like three hours. I loved the beauty of the scenery. It seemed as if we weren't just watching, but were partaking in the silence, the prayers, the meditative work, and rituals. I say we, because Bob watched it with me. It was comforting to me to watch this DVD. Not sure why, maybe the repetition of their tasks and lives, the simplicity, the prayers, the night office.

When I was in seminary I took a course in the Sociology of Religion. Part of what we did in this course were to go to different churches, different denominations. One of the places we went was down to Bardstown, KY to the Abbey of Gethsemani, a Trappist Monastery, where Thomas Merton was a Monk. When we went, I was told that I as a woman could go in to the area hidden from the monks view to watch their worship, but I could not go in and talk with the monks. I had to sit outside most of the time and wait for the guys to come back and tell me about their experience. I must say, after watching this video, I feel like I now have experienced what I could not back then.

Bob and I talked about what kind of person it would take to live in such a setting, we both used the word disciplined to describe that person. I told him, I don't think I am that kind of person. But I will say there are things I can learn from the Monks and their daily lives and prayers.

Silence is golden, because it does offer a way to hear God more clearly. This is the verse they used over and over in the film; "And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still, small voice" (I Kings 19:11-12).

At Taize they say this of Silence: "Silence means leaving to God what is beyond my reach and capacity. A moment of silence, even very short, is like a holy stop, a sabbatical rest, a truce of worries."

Mother Theresa is quoted as saying; "God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer."

Psalm 62:5 says:
"My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him."

I grew up not learning much about being silent before God. I grew up with what I would call a "noisy religion". prayer is talking. Reading the bible as a devotional can be noisy, but doesn't have to be. The worship service is noisy. When I began to learn about being silent before God, it was very freeing, and became part of my life, my prayer time, bible reading time, and worship. However, with kids, my life has gotten noisy again. Sometimes it really is hard to stop, be quiet and know that he is God. This film showed me the importance, but also the beauty of it.


revhipchick said...

wonderful post.

i'm ready for some silence and contemplation. we have a few monasteries around our area.

last year i was blessed to have a week long class at one of them. i was suprised to find out that it was not a silent retreat, but we were given many opportunities for silence. it was quite wonderful and prayerful. i would love to go back for a silent retreat. i think total silence would be a great challenge and a wonderful opportunity to just "be" with God.

JWD said...

Very beautiful.