A reflection by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.
Earlier this week we heard in Mass: “The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 26) How will we know that He has spoken if we are not listening? And if we are not silent, how will we know that He is speaking? A monk is one who is continually listening; and silence is the fruit of listening. Silence is an atmosphere in which we are being attentive to what is within. Attentiveness also reminds me of the word ‘hearken!’ One who is hearkening is standing ready, waiting and listening.
Silence should not be overbearing. Our silence is an attentive listening. It’s not one that ‘s dreary, sad, and sore and therefore is not going to talk. It’s one that is hearkening, that’s alive, that is just waiting to hear what one has to say. Then that being the case, if a monk is one who is hearkening, listening, and attentive, then there is a quiet that comes.
How do we attain a peace that leaves us undisturbed and free of worldly anxieties? Ask yourself what you are listening to. What are the things that disturb you? What are the things that cause you to stop listening to God? I think narcissism is the iPod we stick in our ear and hear the repetition of what we have programmed to hear. That is my definition of a monastic iPod. You won’t hear anything of peace or His Word until you take that plug out and are attentive to what’s around you. In that way we will also be very attentive to each other. Everything in us should be an attitude of listening. We’re looking for His second coming, we’re in a mode of hearkening.
So this time of Advent it’s not a time of dreary silence, but one that’s awake and full of joy and can hardly wait to hear what is to come. He is no longer one who wants to reprove us but one who wants to call you to Himself. Listen to what He has to say.