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Silence and Solitude

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Slides from Duluth Oblate meeting on Silence and Solitude, given during Advent 2017. Oblates are lay people who live according to the Rule of St. Benedict.

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Silence and Solitude

  1. 1. Silence and Solitude Sister Edith Bogue Duluth Benedictine Oblates 10 December 2017
  2. 2. Agenda • Welcome • Midday Prayer • Announcements • Events • Reflection on November meeting (10 minutes) • Spiritual and Material – one or two? • Impact and distractions of the material world • Care of the material world (our common home) • Theme: Silence and Solitude • Silence in the Rule • Where do we get Solitude? • Solitude and Silence for Ministry • Discussion • Refreshments
  3. 3. Restraint in Speaking: Chapter 6 1 Let us do as the prophet says: I said, I will keep custody over my ways so I do not sin with my tongue: I have kept custody over my mouth. I became speechless, and was humbled, and kept silent concerning good things (Ps 39:1-3). 2 Here the prophet shows that if we ought to refrain even from good words for the sake of restraining speech, how much more ought we to abstain from evil words, on account of the punishment due to sin! 3 Therefore, on account of the importance of restraint in speech let permission to speak be seldom granted even to perfect disciples, even when their conversation is good and holy and edifying, 4 for it is written: In speaking much you cannot avoid sin (Prov 10:19); 5 and elsewhere Death and life are in the hands of the tongue (Prov 18:21). 6 For speaking and teaching befit the master: remaining silent and listening are proper for the disciple. 7 And therefore, if someting is requested of a superior, let it be requested with all humility and reverent submission. 8 But as for ridiculing or otiose words which induce laughter, we permanently ban them in every place; neither do we permit a disciple to open his mouth in such discourse. THE RULE of ST. BENEDICT - Regula Sancti Benedicti tr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.; Source Books (March 1997) ISBN-10: 0940147270 In this bilingual edition black typeface indicates text unique to Benedict: brown type indicates text common to both the Rule of Benedict and the Rule of the Master
  4. 4. Silence and Reading: Chapter 38 And total silence is to be kept, so that no whispering or voice may be heard there except that of the reader alone. 6 With regard to things necessary for eating and drinking the brothers are to minister to one another in turn, so that no one need ask for anything: 7 If anything is wanted, it should be asked for by some audible sign rather than in words. 8 No one is to presume there to ask any question about the reading or anything else, lest occasion be given (Eph 4:27; 1 Tim 5:4); 9 unless perhaps the superior wishes to briefly say something edifying. THE RULE of ST. BENEDICT - Regula Sancti Benedicti tr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.; Source Books (March 1997) ISBN-10: 0940147270 In this bilingual edition black typeface indicates text unique to Benedict: brown type indicates text common to both the Rule of Benedict and the Rule of the Master
  5. 5. Silence after Compline: Chapter 42 1 At all times silence is to be studiously kept by monks, especially during the hours of night. 2 And this is to be the case in all seasons, whether fast days or a days with a noon meal. … 8 when they go out from Compline no one is allowed to say anything further to anyone; 9 but if anyone is found evading this rule concerning restraint of speech he is to be severely punished, 10 unless the necessities of guests supervened or the abbot gave someone a command: 11 but even this is to be done with the greatest seriousness and proper moderation. THE RULE of ST. BENEDICT - Regula Sancti Benedicti tr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.; Source Books (March 1997) ISBN-10: 0940147270 In this bilingual edition black typeface indicates text unique to Benedict: brown type indicates text common to both the Rule of Benedict and the Rule of the Master https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/religion- monks-trappist_monks-silent_order-accident-monastry- cst0083_low.jpg
  6. 6. Silence in the Oratory: Chapter 52 1 The oratory is to be what it is called, and nothing else should be done or kept there. 2 When the Work of God is finished all should go out in complete silence and with reverence for God, 3 so that a brother who wishes to pray by himself will not be impeded by another’s insensitivity. 4 But if he wishes to pray in solitude, he should enter to pray with simplicity, not in a loud voice, but with tears and attentiveness of heart. 5 And therefore one who is not performing this work is not to be permitted to remain in the oratory after the Work of God, so that, as was said, no one else is impeded. THE RULE of ST. BENEDICT - Regula Sancti Benedicti tr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.; Source Books (March 1997) ISBN-10: 0940147270 In this bilingual edition black typeface indicates text unique to Benedict: brown type indicates text common to both the Rule of Benedict and the Rule of the Master
  7. 7. Solitude: Only two places in the Rule 1 The oratory is to be what it is called, and nothing else should be done or kept there. 2 When the Work of God is finished all should go out in complete silence and with reverence for God, 3 so that a brother who wishes to pray by himself will not be impeded by another’s insensitivity. 4 But if he wishes to pray in solitude, he should enter to pray with simplicity, not in a loud voice, but with tears and attentiveness of heart. 5 And therefore one who is not performing this work is not to be permitted to remain in the oratory after the Work of God, so that, as was said, no one else is impeded. THE RULE of ST. BENEDICT - Regula Sancti Benedicti tr. Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.; Source Books (March 1997) ISBN-10: 0940147270 In this bilingual edition black typeface indicates text unique to Benedict: brown type indicates text common to both the Rule of Benedict and the Rule of the Master http://www.touregypt.net/images/touregypt/ syrian35.jpg
  8. 8. Solitude: Cure for Serious Faults. Chapter 25 1 But that brother who is guilty of a more serious fault is to be suspended both from the common table and from the oratory. 2 None of the brothers may associate with him or engage him in conversation. 3 Laboring in solitude at the work enjoined on him, persisting in the sorrow of penitence, he is to consider that dreadful sentence of the apostle who says: 4 such a man is handed over for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5). 5 And his meals are to be taken alone, in the measure and at the hour the abbot considers best for him: 6 he may not be blessed by any who pass by, nor may the food be blessed that is given to him. A Carthusian cell. https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/solitarybird/12795686/305/305_original.jpg
  9. 9. Solitude Quote: Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Image: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fc/d1/e6/fcd1e6740daadfd42d066230c89157b4.jpg A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him "Father, give me a word." The old man said to him "Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything."
  10. 10. Solitude Quote: Vita Syncleticae. Image: https://sayingsoftheorthodoxfathers.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/syncletica.jpg “There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd, and it is possible for one who is a solitary to live in the crowd of his own thoughts.” Amma Synclectica
  11. 11. Isolation and Depression from WebMD •In depression, social isolation typically serves to worsen the illness and how we feel," Ilardi says. •"Social withdrawal amplifies the brain's stress response. ... •The Fix: Gradually counteract social withdrawal by reaching out to your friends and family. https://cdn1.medicalnewstoday.com/content/images/articles/008/8933/depressed-woman.jpg
  12. 12. Solitude in preparation for action • Contemplation is first about learning how to be and surrendering our very being to God’s grace. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). • Before I can act, I need to know that it is good simply to be myself before God, loved as a person with both gifts and faults. • Yet we often wonder: does God want this quality of mine or that desire? Does God love my beauty and my mess? • Fr. Walter Burghardt, SJ, said that contemplation is taking a “long, loving look at the real.” • But before I can take that long look of love at anyone or anything else, I have to allow God to take a long and loving look at me.
  13. 13. For January •Inventory your silence (auditory and visual) • Background sound • Conversation versus chatter • “Leave even good words unsaid…” • Are there times when you are silent and realize you should be speaking? •Inventory your solitude • Isolation versus Companionship • Are there times and places of service? • Solitude to be ready to help others
  14. 14. Silence and Solitude Sister Edith Bogue Duluth Benedictine Oblates 10 December 2017

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