Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Reflections from St Beuno's: Silence


Be still and know that I am God.

An important feature of retreats at St Beuno's is that there is silence.  Apart from a daily meeting with the retreat Director, and Mass in the evening, everyone is encouraged to be silent. 


Being encouraged to be silent for this period of time has made me reflect on why so many of us find silence difficult.  


In my own life I tend to fill every moment with noise - and I don't think I'm alone in this.  .Why do we feel we need to fill every moment with noise?  TV's, radios, mobile phones, news, music, Facebook and Twitter.  Is it that in our modern society we fail to appreciate the importance of silence?  Is it because we see stillness, quietness as unproductive time?  What I have come to realise from my time at St Beuno's is that silence is really important for my life, because it gives me the space  to reconnect with my true self, and most importantly of all to reconnect with God.   

Maybe our modern technology rather than helping us actually hinders us.  Before the advent of cars and modern forms of transport, it used to take time to travel places, either by foot or horse.  This gave people time to reflect, to enjoy the beauty of God's creation, to take in nature, to find that space for stillness and quiet.  


Maybe it is no wonder we don't hear from God, because we don't create the room, the space needed to let him speak to us, to savour his presence, to enjoy him.  
Do we fill our lives with so much noise that we drown out God's still small voice?

When Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha, Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to what he had to say.  Martha, in contrast was distracted with much serving, and she came to Jesus and said "Lord do you not care than my sister has left me to serve alone?" Jesus response was, "Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42) Jesus commended Mary for making space in her life to sit and listen to him, which was more important that anything else she could have been doing, no matter how important that may have been.


Could it be that in our Christian lives we are like Martha, so busy being distracted by all the things we feel we need to do, and we miss out on what God really wants from us, to sit at his feet and be still?