Do Not Be Afraid of Silence by Ben Mann

Another excellent article from our friend Ben Mann:

Do Not Be Afraid of Silence

“A person whose mind is caught in thought is distant from Jesus; a person with a silent mind is with him.”  St. Hesychius of Jerusalem

“We are not God, but God is the center of all, so when we turn to our own center we find, not ourselves, but God.” – Stratford Caldecott

First of all, this is likely to be my last Catholic Exchange column, at least for a while or possibly permanently. Having published a series of CE articles which runs to the combined length of a short book, I am beginning a hiatus to concentrate on other projects. I may write again here in the future, God willing; but since I do not know where my literary road now leads, I thought it would better to pause and be led by the Spirit.

I am, in fact, unsure as to where God is leading me in general. After spending a total of 11 months in discernment with the community of Holy Resurrection Monastery, where I believed I would live the rest of my life, I realize I must look elsewhere for the fulfillment of my vocation (which I still believe is essentially “monastic”). My commitment to Christ and his Church are not in question; only my personal direction is.

This is a profound and unexpected disappointment, though I trust in the ways of Providence and have great hopes for the future. I am grateful to the monks for their encouragement and hospitality; and while it is hardly an adequate expression of gratitude, I would like to dedicate this final column to them.

After this, I will be silent for a while. But I will take this last opportunity to speak of what is central to my life, and to say certain things I have wanted to say for a long time.

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Silence, in fact, is what I want to discuss in this last column. After my discovery of the Christian faith and the Catholic Church, my discovery of silence has made the greatest difference in my life.

When I speak of silence, I am referring not to a mere exterior quiet consisting in the absence of noise. I am talking about something within us: a deep interior stillness, and clarity, and light, which is almost indescribable – because it is the point of contact between the soul and God.

Continue reading here.

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