In praise of silence

In praise of silence

May 04, 2020

choir in the church

Let me spend these few moments with you talking about silence. We often do not get to enjoy it very much, as we are immersed in a whirlwind of life events and developments, worries and concerns. We are constantly racing against time, and find it almost impossible to stop, think and pay attention to another, and even to ourselves.

Some time ago, I travelled to a distant village some two hundred kilometres away. I woke up. It was half past five on my watch. I went outside, and it was an extraordinary feeling. It felt as if I were in outer space. It was so quiet. Not a leaf was moving, and not a bird was singing. There were none of the noises from factories that are so normal to the ear of an urban dweller, and even the nearby road was quiet. It was complete silence. Amid this silence, I heard something. It took me some time to realise where it was coming from and what it was. It was the sound of the drops of water falling from the edge of a bucket into the well, resonating as they hit the water’s surface. Even this very faint noise was perceptible to me in the absolute silence.

These moments of silence are truly precious. It is almost a physical sensation, and even the slightest move can end it. I wish that we could have within us this kind of silence that would make it possible for us to hear ourselves, our neighbour and perhaps even God Himself. His voice is heard in our hearts like the sound of the drops of water in the well: It is there, but we need to hear it. The noise that surrounds us makes this very difficult.

All too often, we are too afraid of silence and will rush to fill it up with a lot of unnecessary things that distract, entertain and keep us from spending time alone with ourselves and with God.

We pray that we can all find and benefit from this kind of silence, or at least that we do not break it with our noise.

26.12.2019

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