I recently spent a blissfully quiet weekend of retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. I’m not a loud person by nature, but even I didn’t realize how much noise there is in my life until I shut it off for a few days.
Oh, there were still sounds—of birds in the trees outside my window, of water in a creek, of church bells marking the hours and calling us to prayer, and of chanting monks singing the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours. Good sounds, the kind it’s refreshing to focus on.
It was good to “fast” from noise and talking. I shared the weekend with two friends, but we were faithful to the request to be quiet and saved most of our visiting for the drive home. We did, however, make use of the “talking dining room” two evenings at dinnertime.
Sometimes we need to quiet ourselves and all the noise that is normally a given in our days. Sometimes even I need to shut my mouth and just listen. In the quiet, I found that I was able to slow down the racing thoughts that usually fill my head. I connected with a sense of peace that was good for my spirit. I was better able to focus on those things I chose to do—reading or praying or simply listening.
I hope you might find some time this Lent to “fast” from noise, even for a little while! If you want to know more about the Liturgy of the Hours, check out a recent Catholic Update, Liturgy of the Hours—Sharing Your Day with God by Daria Sockey.