"The din of the factory, the pressure of office business, the exhausting routine of conducting classes become less irritating and distressing. They have made room in their hearts for God, and with His presence come peace and quiet. Senses dead to the world's discordant din are better able to recognize the divine Voice when it whispers in their hearts. . . It is possible to achieve this recollected interior silence, wherein one hears the Word; but, we repeat, it is very difficult. The noisy nervous world ceaselessly conspires to disturb the silent cloister of the heart and drown out the whisperings of the Eternal Word." (My Beloved, Mother Catherine Thomas)We live in a world bombarded by noise. Yet, how much of that is voluntarily allowed? One readily gives access to numerous forms of cacophony so frequently that he is simply inured to the perpetual din and ceases to dwell comfortably in silence. Previously, adults strove to correct children's impatient, self-centered propensities. Presently, though, it is many adults who have regressed to their former restless and childish selves, no longer capable of abiding a moment without their senses being entertained. St. Edith Stein aptly described this agitated state:
". . .the mind is occupied with many things; so much so that one thing is always crowding on another in a constant state of movement and of tumult and uproar."Today, it is not merely the silence of sound that is scorned, but more often, it is the "silence of the eyes and imagination", as one Carmelite Mother Superior taught her spiritual daughters. Oftentimes unnoticed, there can grow an insatiable desire to litter one's environment with the bluster of constant chatter or endless images or uninterrupted background noise. Some may fear silence, and so welcome the incessant tumult to drown the clamoring of a long neglected conscience. Others are so accustomed to the din they are unaware of its perpetual presence.
True beauty and peace are found in the quietude of creation, and will no longer be appreciated or even noticed if one continues to perish in the tempestuous waves of noise. It is not just nature's beauty one neglects, but more importantly, the divine beauty hidden in those souls entrusted to him. When one retreats into the solitude of self, surrounded by the fortified walls of discordance, he is unable to thoughtfully observe others and anticipate their needs.
Though one may be very much in the world, he can still seek to perpetuate a silent milieu in his heart. In so doing, his soul will awaken to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the unspoken needs of those nearest him. Let us strive to welcome silence into our lives and so seek to serve Him, who was born on a silent night, in those He gave to us.