Most of us know C.S. Lewis for his children books in the Chronicle of Narnia series, such as “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”. He also wrote a weekly column for the The Guardian which is a newspaper in London. The column was in the form of letters written from the viewpoint of a senior devil who was training an apprentice devil. These letters were later published as a book titled The Screwtape Letters.
The apprentice devil was given the task of winning a particular young man’s soul away from God and for the devil. He began immediately thinking of all sorts of ways he could tempt the man. However, the senior devil told him to not waste his time coming up with new ways to tempt people. He said that the tried and true way to tempt people that is so simple consists primarily of creating so much noise in the world that man can no longer hear the voice of God in his life.
Those words were written over 70 years ago. C.S.Lewis was definitely using his spiritual gift of prophesy at that time. The noise in our life has increased significantly durng the last 70 years. People today wake up in the morning and normally turn something on (the t.v., radio, computer, iphone, etc).
Along with the increase in noise, it has become harder and hard for us to hear the voice of God. It is in the silence that God speaks to us. The more time we spend in silence the more we will be able to hear the voice of God in our life. Silence is where clarity emerges. Think about when you are on a road trip and your not quite sure where your going. You usually turn the radio off and ask everyone to be quiet, so you can concentrate. It is the same with God. It is in the silence that God can clarify things to us and teach us.
I’ve mentioned before that I have trouble just sitting around reading and praying in the silence. Well, I’ve just finished reading a great book by Matthew Kelly called “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” and I’ll be doing a book review on that book soon. But one of the key things he stressed throughout the book was about making continuous, intentional, incremental spiritual improvements in our life.
So instead of just shutting down all devices for long periods of time for total quiet, he suggested just sitting in silence for only a few minutes a day and building it up a little at a time. This way it doesn’t feel so excruciating.
I’ve been spending more and more time in silence and when my daughter isn’t home, it is truly silent around my house without the t.v., radio, or computer on. At first my ADD got the best of me and I kept jumping from book to book and article to article, but then I was able to settle down and pray, journal, and study and meditate on God’s Word.
I still find myself turning the TV on and surfing through the channels, but then I’ll decide that there really isn’t anything on I really want to watch so I turn it off and sit in silence. It has really been wonderful.
My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.
I challenge you to make it one of your 2013 goals to turn off the noise and Come to the Quiet.