For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him alone comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:1).
A few years ago as I was more seriously discerning whether or not I should make an application to enter into formation with a Monastic Community, I began to spend a lot more time in silence and solitude. Now at this stage of my Novitiate, as well as then; I have come to regard the time I spend in silence and solitude is a welcomed and precious gift. As is the case then and now, I get the remark every so often that I am anti-social. I recently heard of another who said that he too was accused of being anti-social because of the time he spends in silence.
As I wrote in a previous blog post, noise is a distraction to prayer and contemplation. Noise is not without its validation. There are times when we need to communicate with family and friends, play or listen to music, etc. However, endless chatter, ceaseless talking and gossip crowd the medium that is between the Holy Spirit and our hearts. Our homes and churches are riddled with conflicts that are out of control. Our television, internet and radio is full of political arguments that amount to a lot of doing nothing. Just opinions that are meant to enrage what is already rage that cannot be diminished or healed. I beg your pardon, but I would rather spend time in anti-social silence conversing with God in my heart than listening to all of that chaos. The excess noise is anti-social. It rips communities and peoples further apart with every additional word spoken.
The soul that waits alone in silence because it knows that God is the hope for salvation, has already acknowledged that it cannot find fulfillment in the things of this world. We can use the many things in life to draw closer to God, but they are not an end in and of themselves. When we withdraw from the noise of people, words and audio waves to be alone and quiet with God; we enter into what is eternal. We leave behind all that is fleeting away with old age, rust and decay to enter into the contemplative vision with God who is beyond all time and space; who is the beginning and the end. Maybe we are not everyone’s favorite person at this moment, but we get to be in the presence of the Holy One in Whom we are all God’s favorite. God longs to fill our emptiness with the beauty and awesomeness of unconditional and holy love. In that moment of anti-social silence and solitude, we get the greatest gift that no socializing can possibly fulfill. The greatest gift of silence and solitude is God. God is all that matters.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB