Saturday, January 02, 2010


I have no intention of trying to blog every single day in 2010. There, that said, here it is... January 2nd and I'm at it again. On a roll? Probably not.

Today is a day of silent retreat for the entire house. What a decidedly lovely way to start the new year. We have that kind of total silence so infrequently these days, we had to post signs in the elevators and the refectory to remind everyone. I have my "in silent retreat" badge on to remind myself.

Yesterday we explained to all the aides and live-alongside folks that they were not to speak to us out loud today, and for the most part they have joined in and have been wonderful. I think it was an unusual challenge for them. One aide in particular has been shisshing her charges when they forget. Forgetfulness seems to be our enemy these days. There is no longer such a thing as The Great Silence in this house. Normally it begins after Compline, or in our case, at 9:00 p.m., and ends after breakfast the following day. Not here.

The best we can manage these days are occasional mini silences, and, while those are refreshing, it's like trying to squelch a forest fire with a plant mister. To go deep, to hear the still small voice, that requires a block of undisturbed quiet. It takes time to withdraw from chaos.

For some sisters a silent retreat day means not only no talking, but also no electronic noise or communication. They turn off their computers, their cel phones, their radios or ipods. For others the quiet is less defined. For me, I want specifically to eliminate all input except the Holy Spirit's. Output is okay for me... it's just another way to weed out the clutter that distracts my focus. Each sister must choose what works best to align her soul closer to God.

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