Monday, August 30, 2010
Silence and the Sabbath
Here is a quote from Augustine's Sermon on the Third Commandment taken from the book I told you I have been using Into the Silent Land. Laird quotes St. Augustine because he is speaking of stillness, inner focus, and recollection.
L"The third commandment enjoins quietness of heart, tranquility of mind. This is holiness. Because here is the Spirit of God. This is what a true holiday means, quietness and rest. Unquiet people recoil from the Holy Spirit. They love quarreling.
They love argument. In their restlessness they do not allow the silence of the Lord's Sabbath to enter their lives. Against such restlessness we are offered a kind of Sabbath in the heart. As if God were saying 'stop being so restless, quieten the uproar in your minds. Let go of the idle fantasies that fly around in your head.' God is saying, 'Be still and see that I am God." (Ps 46) But you refuse to be still. You are like the Egyptians tormented by gnats. These tiniest of flies, always restless, flying about aimlessly, swarm at your eyes, giving no rest. They are back as soon as you drive them off. Just like the futile fantasies that swarm in our minds. Keep the commandment. Beware of this plague."
I suspect that any contemplative will rejoice in thinking of keeping the stillness and interior silence as a Sabbath in the heart; we also are aware of the gnats that swarm around us. I was rather impressed in visiting my sister and her husband this summer by the quiet in the house. They only turned the television on one night and that was when my brother was visiting. (My brother has a TV in every room in his house and one in the patio, too!) I enjoyed the silence in my sister's home.
My blog is late today as I had many things to do and was not home to write it.