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JORGIO, Johanna Kira L-160341

2L June 13, 2018

What is your favorite rule of St. Benedict?

OF SILENCE1

Let us act in conformity with that saying of the Prophet: "I said I will guard my ways lest I sin with my
tongue; I have put a bridle on my mouth; I was dumb and was humbled and kept silence from good things."
Here the prophet shows that if we ought at times for the sake of silence to refrain even from good
words, much more ought we to abstain from evil words on account of the punishment due to sin.
Therefore, on account of the importance of silence, let permission to speak be rarely given even to the
perfect disciples, even though their words be good and holy and conducive to edification, because it is
written: "In the multitude of words there shall not want sin." And elsewhere: "Death and life are in the
power of the tongue." For to speak and to teach are the province of the master; whereas that of the disciple
is to be silent and to listen. Therefore, if anything is to be asked of the superior, let it be done with all
humility and subjection of reverence, lest one seem to speak more than is expedient. Buffoonery, however,
or idle words or such as move to laughter we utterly condemn in every place, and forbid the disciple to
open his mouth to any such discourse.

It’s surprising how loud silence can be—especially when you are used to a world filled
with noise, chaos and pressure. Somehow, I was able to fruitfully exercise my solitude in
Bukidnon, sitting at the chapel, adoring the beauty of the Transfiguration chapel and the
nature that surrounds it. Although I was not alone, it is both silent and comforting—my
soul is finally at ease after weeks of hammering myself for our final exams. Body and
soul are very hard to come by in the city.

With the demand of our studies, we often forget that we are humans and not machines.
We were made for rhythms of silence and noise, community and solitude. God made us
for cycles and seasons, not for worn out routines and cadences. When we let one
overpower the other, it causes our sadness and loss of zest for living.


1
(2006, May 6). Retrieved June 13, 2018, from http://www.osb.org/rb/text/rbejms3.html

In this Benedictine rule, it is the Silence that encourages peace and discourages sin. As
words become weapons, we have the power over the noise before they end up hurting the
people around us. In the same manner, it is also having control over the voice inside you
so as to affect other people in a good way. Sometimes, even when we are alone and able
to hear our own internal voice, the silence can still be easily drowned out in the noise and
crowds. This is when we need God, for solitude with God enables peace. The point of
practicing silence as a spiritual discipline is not for the purpose of hearing God’s audible
voice. Its purpose is for us to be able to focus and better hear Him in His word, to guide
us and our choices. Getting away, quiet and alone, is no special grace on its own. The
goal is to create a context for enhancing our hearing from God in his word and
responding back to him in prayer. Silence and solitude, then, are not direct means of
grace in themselves, but they can grease the skids—like caffeine, sleep, exercise, and
singing—for more direct encounters with God in his word and prayer.

I am constantly amazed with how the monks live their monastic life, which begins each
day while it is still dark. We have witnessed them gathering at the chapel to pray at 5 in
the morning. Throughout the day, they observe “Grand Silence” and are only allowed to
converse when necessary. Even their meals are eaten in silence. After their meals, they
each proceed to do their own work until the next meal time. Many monks spend the time
after to read, study, or perhaps prepare for the next day. Even when the day has ended,
you can feel the power of their silence. It is what I am to embody.