Monday, May 25, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for May 25,2009

January 24, May 25, September 24

Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

Let us do what the Prophet says:
"I said, 'I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue.
I have set a guard to my mouth.'
I was mute and was humbled,
and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
Here the Prophet shows
that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
to refrain even from good speech,
so much the more ought the punishment for sin
make us avoid evil words.

Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
permission to speak should rarely be granted
even to perfect disciples,
even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
for it is written,
"In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
and in another place,
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).

For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
And for that reason
if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
it should be asked
with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.

But as for coarse jests and idle words
or words that move to laughter,
these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
and for such conversation
we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

Some Thoughts

There is a lot here to chew on. Seems to me that Benedictine leaves out his basic presupposition about the purpose of silence. It's as if it is so basic, so understood by all already that he doesn't feel the need to say it. After all, the tradition of monasticism stressed the need for silence and he continues it.But what is this basic presupposition? I believe that the purpose of silence is to hear God.

How can we reclaim silence for ourselves? What are the challenges that each of us face? Have we resistance to creating silence in our lives? Do we feel silence is an affront to our personality type?

I look forward to what you will say.



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