Sunday, November 13, 2011


"Were men to learn the message
Silence always brings,
They'd learn to span Earth's bridges
To touch immortal things."

-- Sr. Elizabeth Loretto Triail, C.S.J.

Pope Benedict in his visit to Carthusian monks brought up an important point. He was extolling the value of silence and noted its growing absence in the modern world. He said:
Technical progress, markedly in the area of transport and communications, has made human life more comfortable but also more keyed up, at times even frantic. Cities are almost always noisy, silence is rarely to be found in them because there is always a lingering background noise, in some areas even at night. In the recent decades, moreover, the development of the media has spread and extended a phenomenon that had already been outlined in the 1960s: virtuality that risks getting the upper hand over reality. Unbeknown to them, people are increasingly becoming immersed in a virtual dimension because of the audiovisual messages that accompany their life from morning to night.

The youngest, who were already born into this condition, seem to want to fill every empty moment with music and images, as for fear of feeling this very emptiness. This is a trend that has always existed, especially among the young and in the more developed urban contexts but today it has reached a level such as to give rise to talk about anthropological mutation. Some people are no longer capable of remaining for long periods in silence and solitude. (LAMEZIA TERME, Italy, OCT. 11, 2011)
Human beings need periods of silence as well as times for rest in their lives. When a person is immersed from birth in constant noise and activity, there is a possibility of becoming less human. A mere sensate being can develop, devoid of meaningful thought. A person becomes considerably less than what he can be -- less than what he is called to be by God.

Some are so wrapped up in the frenzy that they go to their computers, tablets and smart phones in the middle of night when they should be getting a full night's rest. As the Holy Father pointed out, some are afraid of silence, of being alone with themselves. But, when one does not allow for times of silence, he misses a great opportunity to know himself and to become more aware of eternal truths. Perhaps the fear is that of being confronted with the truth of oneself or the fear there being no meaning to one's existence. Yet, if such people only knew that God is with them always and how much He loves them, perhaps they would come to look forward to and to enjoy silence.

Father Stanley

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