Friday, July 3, 2009

Solitude and Silence

"To practise this life of prayer more efficaciously, the Carmelite seeks solitude and keeps himself in silence. The Carmelite Order originated in solitude. The first Carmelites were hermits. The Order has retained this eremitical character. The Rule and the Constitution want Carmelite convents and monasteries to be outside the cities, so that the religious can live in retirement in their cloisters and cells. St Teresa wanted this eremitical spirit to be maintained. She said expressly; 'The end we pursue is not only to live as religious, but as hermits.'

This spirit is characterized by a profound silence. The Rule puts great emphasis upon silence, and declares expressly that to speak when there is no sufficient reason for doing so distracts, dissipates, and defiles the soul. Silence, on the contrary, enables the soul to keep itself pure, fortifies it, and concentrates its power in God. Besides, the soul which seeks God avoids all conversation which has no relation to Him, knowing that he Is not to be found in idle talk and noise, and that it is only in silence and by keeping oneself alert that one perceives the divine Word and receives His light."

-- The Spirit and Prayer of Carmel by Fr François Jamart, ocd

3 comments:

carmelitemom said...

Sister...is this book or writing available to the public? Wonderful reflections. I have been reflecting on how to practice this silence in the secular world. Although we cannot practice it to the degree as those in a cloister or monastery, there are numerous opportunities made available to us. God Bless!

ocd sister said...

The book is currently out of print. It has been for a number of years. The copy I have access to was published in 1955 by The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland. It is a rather small book, so I plan on quoting more here little by little. I pray that no one comes after me for copyright violations! :) Please pray for me. God bless you!

carmelitemom said...

I think as long as you credit the quotes to the author, there is no problem.

I am disappointed it is out of print. I am finding more and more that many good Carmelite books are hard to come by because of that reason...very frustrating. I love Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD and almost all of his books are out of print.

I will look forward to more posts from this author. Thanks Sister!