Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Studying in the Quiet- Part II

Some time ago I wrote about the need for quiet- to say less, to meditate more. http://catholicgeek.blogspot.com/2006/10/studying-in-quiet.html

One friend said he would look forward to seeing what happened. Perhaps he said it tongue in cheek, knowing my gregarious nature would not allow me to remain quiet.... at least not long enough to have any lasting effect.

Here is the progress report.

I have found some very quiet spaces in my life that I never knew existed before.

Last summer a trusted confessor, Father Cyril Gorman of St John's Abbey, gave me the penance of staying after Mass and sitting quietly and pondering. It took a few months but now the practice has set in of staying for just a few moments after Mass is over. Sometimes I relish Christ's continued presence, pray for my day, or just pray over and over that favorite prayer of John Paul II, "Totus tuus".... totally yours. Sometimes I just sit in no particular action at all, just sit. However this started, I've found it makes Mass more meaningful. It "sticks to my ribs" longer as I continue to ponder the readings and the prayers and the people I encounter while I return to my car for the trip to work or home.

A second result of being open to the quiet has been an increasing desire to do less and to stay home more. I am less involved in my parish and other outside activities now, a deliberate choice, and I am finding that less is more. When I do things now I relish it more deeply, as if I am more present than before to what is going on around me. I have to admit that part of this change is probably atmospheric... after all it is Fall-approaching Winter here in Minnesota, a time when people tend to settle in for the long winter's nap. But it's something deeper than that. I can't quite explain it yet. But I am happy that it is happening... an increase in contentment and gratitude for where God has placed me.
The last is the most difficult. I am trying to learn to speak only when spoken to. I am naturally outgoing, gregarious, some would even say aggressive. So this is very hard for me. But listening is a valuable skill that often gets overrun by the need to plan one's one response to what others are saying and doing. God help me to speak less and listen more, to others and above all to Him.


Antony said...

Great stuff, my friend. God at work. Thanks for the progress report. I am excited for you, and inspired by you. Inspired to seek more of the quiet myself.

Phil B. said...

Thanks, A. What can I say? Not much, if i'm supposed to be quiet. :-)