CHAPTER 42 – Silence after Compline

Monastics should diligently cultivate silence at all times, but especially at night. RB 42:1

Night silence is an observance as old as cenobitic monasticism (living with others in community). Pachomius (c. 290-346) had mentioned the importance of night silence. Cassian (c. 360-435) talked of the ban on speaking in the darkness. The Rule of the Master and the Rule of Benedict pointed out that the silence of the night was an important gift to be given to oneself and to those who share your household.

Both silence and conversation have a common root in the spirit of attentive listening. The silence that Benedict speaks of is one that fosters openness to God and to others. This silence is born of attentiveness to the needs of others that will be spoken to our hearts if we listen. Because of the silence that we embrace, be may be in a better position to read the signs of the times and hear what the Spirit is saying to the world.

When we take time to reflect on the events of the day, gifting self and others with silence might allow us to hear the Word of God in the depths of our hearts revealing the great unconditional love that God has for each and every one of us.

Quite a gift – don’t you think?