Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It is internal silence that counts

"We are religious. We are different. So we cannot expect the world to accept silence and treasure it as we have done. We cannot expect traffic cops to throw away their whistles or bus drivers to disconnect their horns. We cannot expect merchants to haggle in low, subdued voices; or cab drivers to transport their fares beneath a cloud of deep, sepulchral quiet. We cannot expect any of these things. We do not expect them. We cannot hope that silence will subdue noise. We do not believe it is possible. But we do believe that if people said less, made less noise, they would be wiser. And with that wisdom would come the ability to cope more adequately with the complexities of living.

Noise and talk have not made us less human, but they have med us less wise. Because of it, we have sometimes crippled the growth of our culture and impeded the development of our knowledge. And the fact that some Americans have failed to adjust their mighty voices to their little worlds has turned them into some of the greatest bores on the face of the earth.

None of us should be too proud or too ashamed to admit that we have spoken too much and too often for our own good. And if some friend loves us enough to say, "shut your mouth," we should not condemn him for his insolence, but thank him for his advice. It is only too bad that God did not furnish zippers with every mouth He made. For if He had, we might more easily become intellectual giants. We might more easily become saints.

So when the five o'clock bell rings on these dark winter evenings, we go into our grand silence. We do this in an effort to achieve through external silence, the great prize, internal silence. For it is internal silence that counts; it is the internal silence that gives us the power to remain unruffled, ever calm, ever the master of our surroundings. And blessed is he who can remain unruffled before the wild antics of modern civilization."

-- Men in Sandals by Fr Richard Madden, ocd

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