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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Punctuated Silence

My heart longs for silence—not always; let's not get crazy.  But in my more romantic days, it wants to be alone with quiet, to leave the crowed place for the silent.

Now be careful not to confuse silence for loneliness, because I've learned that the quiet heart loves one thing only: company, and with company comes (usually) sound.  Strange, right?  But it can't be an articulate sound like voiced speech.  It must be something more like the low rumble of fire over wood, the thud of gathered snow falling from a branch, the tweet of a bird or even the beat of another heart, tears dropping on a shoulder—a whimper, or perhaps soft-spoken and giggled laughter.  You see silence isn't an end but a means (and certainly not a means to isolation as may often be thought).  It is a means of heightening one's sensitivity to sound and its revealed company.  Thus silence becomes a means to community.

Let's go a step further because the silence-breaking sound most adored by the quiet heart is not heard with the ears of the head but those of the heart itself.  Even when the heart experiences the subtle beating of another heart in a quiet embrace there is still a boundary of flesh between them, but when it is the heart of the living God pressing itself upon the quiet heart, there is nothing to separate their communion.


We love silence because there we experience more fully the other's presence—be it in nature or person—but the greatest achievement of silence occurs when it is punctuated by the presence of the person of God.  This is the longing of every heart and the important role of silence.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Paterson, NJ
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