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The Virtue of Silence


By patience and humility good, evil, and poverty are put in proper perspective.

By patience and humility good, evil, and poverty are put in proper perspective. Clerics should never be guilty of pretence. Two-thirds of piety consists in being silent.

- Anonymous, The Rule of Ailbe (Irish, 7th century)

"Be still, and know that I am God..."

- Psalm 46.10

Being silent before the Lord is crucial to knowing Him truly. We are silent before the Lord when we listen carefully to His Word, turning phrases and ideas over and over, attending with care to every nuance of divine self-disclosure.

Silence in an attitude of prayer is also invaluable, for it allows the Spirit to search our souls and reveal things unknown, that we might confess and repent of them. The silence of wonder at the mysteries of creation stimulates the mind to see and hear God's glory in ways that otherwise escape us.

The silence of waiting on the Lord - a combination of meditation, worship, wonder, and listening - can heighten our understanding of the steadfast love of the Lord and, thus, increase adoration and praise.

We have to work at being silent before the Lord. Ours is a noisy age, and, too often, we associate productivity with action and noise. Unless we're fussing around doing this or that and making all kinds of racket, we aren't getting anything done.

But if two-thirds of piety consists of being silent, then it's no wonder the American Church is so lacking in that most important quality. In the silence we can know the Lord; and knowing the Lord is the very essence of eternal life (Jn. 17.3).

Is there time for silence in your day? Should there be? Where can you redeem a few moments, perhaps several times in the day, to draw back into the silence, and wait on the Lord?

Today in ReVision: The Politics of Presumption

This Week's Download: Soul Friends - Have you enlisted soul friends to help you learn the virtue of silence?

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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