|Image Source: Kristina Flour|
One of these is that on Wednesdays we have been asked to partake in a complete day of silence at SMMS. He has titled this practice "Benedictine Wednesdays" in reference to the Benedictine monks who place a special importance on silence.
There has already been an uproar from many seminarians. Perhaps they don't like change. Perhaps they don't appreciate being asked to be silent when they would prefer to be loud and talkative.
But this practice has got me thinking about the idea of silence and whether it truly is important, especially when we all have so many important things to say, or so we believe....
For many of us, a time of silence means that we don't speak, but this could be practiced while watching TV or listening to music (some seminarians have already said they will use this day of silence as an opportunity to walk around the Seminary with headphones in, listening to music.)
However, the discipline of silence is more than merely not speaking. Being truly silent is not only quietening our mouths, but our minds as well. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the status of our thoughts, our souls and the world around us.
It is not easy being silent. It is often uncomfortable, even awkward. This is probably why so many of us do not enjoy being truly silent. It forces us to think and reflect on many of the things we often try and drown out of our lives with needless noise.
So why is silence important?
There are so many people in the world who are trying to be louder than the next person: Politicians, religious leaders, celebrities, activists and many more. The Church often seems to feel that the best way to respond to the world's noise is by competing - trying to be louder than those speaking in the world. Thus, a shouting battle ensues between those in the Church and those in the world.
I believe that, as our chaplain says, when the world is making noise; God calls the Church to silence.
I am not saying that the church should be silent on matters of injustice in the world. But before the church joins in to the chaotic noise in the world, she first needs to be silent, reflect, pray and wait on the Lord for a suitable response in an appropriate manner.
It is in times of silence where we can truly hear the "still, small voice of God" and where we can truly determine the best response to what those in the world are shouting.
"When the world is loud there is emptiness, but when the church is silent, there is fullness." - Luvuyo Sifo.