February 6, June 7, October 7
Chapter 7: On Humility
The ninth degree of humility
is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
not speaking until he is questioned.
For the Scripture shows
that “in much speaking there is no escape from sin” (Prov. 10:19)
and that “the talkative man is not stable on the earth” (Ps. 139:12).
Silence is something I long for. One of my most cherished fantasies is to live some place where all I hear is the birdsong and wind song.
Why are we so noisy? Are we scared of what thoughts might come to mind if we don’t fill them with sounds? Are we lonely? Are we afraid to face ourselves? I have certainly read as much in Those Who Claim To Know. You know, self-help books.
The Bible tells us in various ways that it is not what goes into a person that defiles them but that which comes out of our mouths off our tongue to pass through our lips to speak that which can never be taken back and made as if never said. Many of us live with the scars of things that never should have been said to us. Do we stop to think about the wounds our own words cause to others?
Why is it so hard to create a period of silence in our lives so we can listen to God? I know so many of us cope with almost unbearable stress that scheduling 20 or 30 minutes of silence seems like Just One More Thing Too Many. I lived that way for years myself.
Lent approaches. Maybe a Lenten exercise could be to look at the subject of writing a personal Rule to help us carve out that time for God. If I can be of any help to you, you are welcome to write to me in the comments.