Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Monday, May 21, 2012

Enjoy the Silence

It was intriguing to see that the Pope commented on silence for his message for World Communications Day (which was celebrated on May 20--Ascension Sunday for most of us). 

 St. Peter Martyr, OP, suggests silence
 


"Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves." --Pope Benedict XVI

We understand this as Dominican nuns. Although we don't keep perpetual silence, or take a "vow of silence", we do try to keep a prayerful silence throughout the day and especially in certain areas of the house where noise carries easily and on the monastery grounds where it would be more respectful to be silent (the cemetery, for example). But external silence can often be kept more easily than internal silence! Sometimes, even when we are not speaking, our minds are running a mile a minute with distracting thoughts! The Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers tell us, "The nuns should make of their house, and especially of their hearts, a place of silence." (LCM 46:II) We strive every day to do this. Our silence helps us to communicate more effectively with our sisters, with the people we meet in the parlor, with all those we encounter in whatever way God brings them into our lives. And ultimately it helps our prayer as well, which is, after all, the greatest form of communication there is!

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