The other day I played hooky from work, something I don’t usually do. I had a bunch of things that needed doing that can only be done during the week so I spent the day driving from here to there and back again. One of my stops included a local Trappist monastery. While my visit was brief, I came away realizing I would never be able to make it as a monk.
Why? It isn’t the clothes, I actually think I might look good in a robe, although wearing sandals might be an issue. It isn’t the hair, mine is gone already so that won’t be a problem. I could maybe even get used to the hours, getting up at 3:15 am and retiring at 8:00 pm for the day. That’s pretty much what I do now. No those things wouldn’t be an issue, but the quiet would. I mean it is quite quiet.
Actually, it isn’t the quiet per se, it would be the vow of silence thing that would get to me. Not that I talk excessively or even a lot, but when I come across something that just isn’t right, well I would have to say something about it. I don’t know what would not be right in a Trappist monastery, after all, you pretty much are with God all day. Not that He isn’t with us all day as well, but I would guess He is present in the monastery at a whole different level. There is something to be said for spending your day surrounded by like-minded people, all on the same spiritual plane, all with the same thing in mind. But I still don’t think I could stand the quiet.
Yes it is true that we are told by James:
Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath – James 1:19 NABRE
We can even go a little further back in the Bible, to The Old Testament book of Proverbs:
Those who guard their mouths preserve themselves; those who open wide their lips bring ruin – Proverbs 13:3 NABRE
We all need to be a little quieter at times. We tend to talk a lot without ever saying anything. We complain, we talk about others, spread gossip, find fault with everything, instead of just staying quiet and listening. Maybe if we all just stopped talking and listened to each other we would get along better? Maybe our lives would be less stressed?
I always talk about how in this day and age we surround ourselves with noise. This noise includes the noise we create like when we talk and say nothing. Maybe it is time for us to be slow to speak and quick to hear so we can hear what God is trying to tell us.