CHAPTER 6 – Esteem for Silence

The tongue holds the key to life and death (Prv. 18:21). RB 6:5

Silence must come from the heart. If the heart is filled with noise then there will be much chatter inside us. Interior noise makes us less aware of our true inner life. John Cassian, one of Benedict’s sources, says that a monastic’s calling to seek “nothing other than the vision and contemplation of divine purity … can be acquired only by silence.”

Words can be used to deepen our relationship with others; words can just as easily be used to separate us from others. Benedict condemns any vulgarity, gossip and talk leading to laughter (RB 6:8) When we refrain from this type of speaking, we become aware of the words that can deepen our relationships with others and with God. This choice of silence comes from a heart focused on seeking the “vision and contemplation of divine purity.” It is a choice to speak words of affirmation, consolation and compassion. It is a choice to be in right relationship with self, God and others.