Silence is Golden!
When I was younger, much younger, I remember my parents telling me four things about growing up.
1. Speak when you are spoken to.
2. Respect your elders.
3. Silence is Golden.
4. Think before you speak, or engage your brain before your mouth.
I can still remember the frustration at the dinner table when the adults were holding conversation and I tried to join in to be faced with the old adage, ‘Don’t speak at the table.’ Why, you are ,I always thought, one rule for one and another rule for another. Then when I reached the age that I was allowed to speak at meal times I faced the next statement, ‘Don’t speak with your mouth full.’ They were meaningful words, as I used to shovel the food into the mouth, with the view of going out again as quickly as I possibly could, but tried to hold conversations with the others gathered for the meal at the same time.
So where am I going with this I hear you ask? Well on 23rd August I visited MichaelGarth, which is a retreat that is attached to the Tymawr Convent near Monmouth. After our evening meal on the 23rd August we were told that we were to be silent until the following Thursday.
So here we are, on retreat, no radio, no television, no newspapers, told not to bring anything to read other than our Bible and to cap it all we are not allowed to speak with each other. (The only time we were allowed to speak was during our sessions with our Guide, which usually lasted no longer than half and hour to forty five minutes. Sorry forgot we could also Praise at the 12 noon Eucharist).
As many of you know already I have just embarked on St. Igneous’ Spiritual Journey and this was the start of the journey.
Proverbs 17:27-28 (New International Version)
27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Four days of silence with Bible readings, meditation, reflection and prayer was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had. All sorts of emotions came from me from joy, awe, humility. Smiles and tears. But one of the main facts that I have learned from the four days is that, as I have said before, we are all born with a purpose. God knew our purpose before the universe and world were formed.
I also realised that one ‘little sin’ from me added to the sins of others in this fallen world of ours hurts our Lord very much. BUT……..
1 John 2:1-3 (New International Version)
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world.
3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.
During the four days I had to face sins that came to mind from my youth right through to the current time. Well I can tell you that was a great big wake up call.
I am now continuing as I have been where I spend an hour a day in direct silence reading either a piece written by St Igneous or a passage from the Bible and meditating on what it is saying to me, or hopefully what God is saying to me. I also spend some time during my daily life withdrawing for five minutes to try and listen to what the Lord may be saying to me.
So now I can on reflection say that during the course of the four days I have visited all the four areas that my parents kept saying to me whilst growing up.
1. Speak when you are spoken to. I only spoke when invited to by the Retreat Guide.
2. Respect your elders. This increased to learn my place and respect all others because they to have been given a purpose in life by God.
3. Silence is Golden. I can agree this one, because it seemed very strange to speak again freely after the retreat was over, and even now I choose to be quiet and reflective rather than join in conversations.
4. Think before you speak. Well just go back and read Proverbs 17:27-28 again, I rest my case….
On returning to work I can also say that the retreat has strengthened me and I am much more productive. I have also kicked some very mad, (sinful), habits that I had picked up, and the old habits do not even enter my mind anymore.
Enough from me, May God Bless you all and Keep you safe.
© Rick Hayes, October 2009