I wrote this in December, but had not set it to publish, as I thought I had some work to do on it. In the meantime, Pope Francis beat me to the punch!
Silence “helps us to discover our mystery: our mystery of encountering the Lord, our mystery of walking through life with the Lord,” encouraged Pope Francis.
The Pontiff then concluded his homily in the chapel of the Saint Martha guesthouse by praying that “the Lord would give us the grace to love silence, to seek it and to have a heart guarded by the ‘cloud’ of silence.”
When was the last time you actually learned something by talking? Most things we have learned have come by listening. Real listening requires being silent. Not just being silent as you think of your next thought or comment, but active listening. It seems to me that many of us RUN from silence. What are we afraid of?
I used to avoid silence. The television was always on when I was home, and the radio was on in the car. I fell asleep with the TV on. I do sometimes listen to my radio as I fall asleep though (Catholic Answers, or the Drew Mariani show, or a Catholic podcast). I like to pray the Rosary as I lay down to rest, and will sometimes fall asleep to it. Recently, my husband and I drove 5 hours without the radio on at all. What an unexpected joy that was! After all these years, we still had plenty to share with each other. That wouldn't have happened without silence.
I love Mass. I love the hymns and songs, of praise, thanksgiving, penance and such. But where is the silence? In our parish, it seems non-existent much of the time. Not before Mass begins, not after, and very little during. I miss it. The silence is one reason I enjoy the weekday Masses I attend. Even though I miss singing hymns and prayers, I miss the silence more on Sundays.
I pray to increase the silence in my head and heart, so that I can hear Him. I think that's what many of us are hiding from when we fill our lives with 'noise'. We don't want to hear what He has to say. We are so afraid of His (righteous) judgment that we insulate ourselves from it.