Mark 4:37,39 – A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. [Jesus] woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased and there was a dead calm.

Silence can be the balm of Gilead that cures the aching soul. Ask Donald Nicholl who finally decided to take some time for himself, and this was his experience:

"It happened some years ago when I had the good fortune to spend an entire week on my own in a cottage high on a Welsh mountain-side. Without the noise of radio and television or the telephone the days passed in deep silence I walked the mountain, gathered blackberries, meditated, prayed and, as it turned out, was not called upon to speak to another human being. Soon after sunset I would go to sleep and I would awake in time to greet the dawn. During the course of the week this way of living produced a profound effect upon me; in the absence of those peripheral events which usually draw off so much of our energy, all my energies seemed to become centred deep within me. My mind became quiet and, most obvious of all, my breathing became deeper and more rhythmical. I felt serene and at peace."

The brothers of the Taize community in France, a Reformed — a Presbyterian — monastic community, have found and shared the secret of silence, a part of our faith so much ignored in life and so very much a part of the biblical witness of what is essential and crucial for our spiritual awakening and our spiritual nurturing. Brother Rodger who founded the Taize Community, wrote, at the very beginning of the community, a sentence that became the heart of the shared life they experienced: "Keep inner silence in all things, in order to remain in Christ… be filled with the spirit of the beatitudes: joy, simplicity, mercy."

Prayer: In the 'noisesomeness' of life, our Lord, give us the healing peace of silence to consider the secrets of the soul and the source of salvation which is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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