Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE SOUND--PLEASE!!-- OF SILENCE

down the street from my house
It's always heartening to see the love for country exhibited during "The Fourth of July" by the male population of L.A. Our neighbors from South of the border, who seem to have a special and touching fondness for this holiday, gather in clumps and for three solid days and nights launch rocket-fueled fireworks from every side street in the city.

Now that all that patriotic fervor has been spent, I'm hoping the dust will settle and we can all sink into a long period of dreamy, slow-moving....

"Special resolution: silence

Silence regarding God, spiritual matters and my soul, unless speech is necessary in order to acknowledge my faith or to do good to the souls of others.

Silence regarding my own soul, the graces that I have rec'd, and my spiritual life, unless charity requires me to break this silence to a very guarded and humble degree.

Silence regarding myself, my trials, privations and health. I will answer questions truthfully and without affectation, then be silent again.

Silence is good for the soul, essential to recollection, and conducive to humility. Remember our Lord's silence throughout His life and during the hours of His passion.

When I am in the company of others, for their good, I will talk freely on exalted and serious subjects, the discussion of which cannot fail to enlarge and strengthen both my soul and (hopefully--I add this) theirs.

I will talk about nothing trivial or mean, and no petty grievances.

In a word, my speech shall be recollected and my silence living."


--Elisabeth Leseur (1866-1914), a French married laywoman whose cause for canonization is underway.

across the street from my house

One has a moral obligation to take responsibility for one’s actions, and that includes one’s words and silences, yea, one’s silences, because silences rise to heaven, too, and God understands them, and only God understands and judges them, so one must be very careful with one’s silences.
--Roberto Bolaño, By Night in Chile

"It is not likely that when the country was new and men were often alone in the fields and the forest they got a sense of bigness outside themselves that has now in some way been lost...Mystery whispered in the grass, played in the branches of tress overhead, was caught up and blown across the American line in clouds of dust at evening on the prairies...I am old enough to remember tales that strengthen my belief in a deep semi-religious influence that was formerly at work among our people...I can remember  old fellows in my home town speaking feelingly of an evening spent on the big empty plains. It had taken the shrillness out of them. They had learned the trick of the quiet."


--from a letter from Sherwood Anderson to Waldo Frank



around the corner from my house

The Father spoke from all eternity just one Word. And he spoke it in an eternal silence. And it is in silence that we hear him.
--St. John of the Cross

7 comments:

  1. "Silence, silence to do, when earth grew loud,
    In lairs and asylums of the tremendous shout."

    ~ Dylan Thomas, from "There Was A Saviour"

    (rarer than radium, commoner than truth!)

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  2. The silent solemnity of life is all around us. It is Love and Joy, and often only found in silence.

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  3. Silence regarding God, spiritual matters and my soul, unless speech is necessary in order to acknowledge my faith or to do good to the souls of others.

    How should Catholic bloggers, including myself, respond to this one?

    David

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  4. ha ha, great, Tony. Although I would have liked it even better if instead of "I have nothing to say, and I am saying it," Cage had said, "I have EVERYTHING to say, and I am saying it"...and THEN sat there in silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds...

    David, weren't you the one who sent me that great piece from the Vatican about Catholic bloggers? The one that reads in part:

    "[T]he cultural dimension of the phenomenon needs to be singled out: we are in the presence of a "way of life." In fact, the weblog (the original word for blog) is a chronicle in electronic format that doesn't just list facts but comments on them from one's personal sensibility, so it is a reflection on daily life and, in a certain way, an interpretation of existence...

    The encounter of 2 May has made us understand that a new reality is growing that communicates emotions, sentiments, impulses of the spirit, opinions and stories in an unedited way that [Marshall] McLuhan himself would never have expected.... Let us seek, then, to reflect on the ideas raised in this dialogue, even the most suggestive, interesting and even slightly provocative, to highlight the necessity of not letting this meeting of bloggers remain only one event to be consigned to the annals of history, but that it becomes the first step of a long path of listening to the many people who wish to speak with us."

    ~ Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi
    President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
    22 May 2011

    Leseur isn't saying, of course, that we should never speak; she's saying don't speak if all we have is back-biting, gossiping, spreading venom, hatred, and spite, being argumentative or provocative for the sake of being argumentative or provocative, especially if we're angling to draw attention to ourselves (as opposed to Christ), or worse yet, actually harm people...

    She's saying that if we do speak, it should be for the purpose of bearing witness to our faith...which to me in a sense means to our joy...

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  5. Heather,

    Yes, it was I who shared the piece from Cardinal Ravasi, and I agree with you. I also believe that one of Leseur's other resolutions applies to Catholic blogging in a positive sense:


    When I am in the company of others, for their good, I will talk freely on exalted and serious subjects, the discussion of which cannot fail to enlarge and strengthen both my soul and (hopefully--I add this) theirs.

    David

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  6. Heather, for whatever GOOGLE reasons, it is
    becoming so difficult to post to your blog
    and often I find myself as: ANONYMOUS.
    Just wanted to let you know that I am reading the blog.

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