Opinion: Silence Leads to Sanctity

By Marc Massery

View the previous Discovering the Diary

Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one:

Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we should speak (477).

In our society, especially with the rise of the 24-hour news cycle, many of us have an opinion on just about everything.

Whether it be a religious question: Was that move by Pope Francis right or wrong? Or a political question: Is it offensive to say "all lives matter" instead of "black lives matter"? We tend to want to take sides quickly when it comes to controversy.

Finding Our Identity
While there's nothing wrong with having opinions, in our culture we overestimate their importance. Concerned with establishing our own identities, we feel pressured to take sides and speak out, even if we're not sure or don't know much about the topic at hand. As a result, we tend to separate each other into camps based on their opinions: liberal, conservative, traditionalist, charismatic, environmentalist, pro-life - the list goes on. While these categories can serve a purpose at times, we must not forget that they do not define the essence of who we are: children of God.

In this atmosphere, St. Faustina's views on silence, expressed above, strike a chord. She says that keeping silent, though difficult, leads to sanctity. In a world that's forgotten how to be silent, many of us equate remaining quiet with being weak. However, St. Faustina considers silence an important virtue for which we should all strive.

In fact, she raises a question that we might not have otherwise thought about: does God will that I speak in this moment? Or am I allowing my sensitivity to words, my feelings, guide when I speak and what I say?

Let God Do the Talking
Of course, there are times when God calls us to speak out, even to make a stand with our words. But this passage from St. Faustina teaches us that in our daily lives, we ought to err on the side of silence. Despite the pressures we might feel from our culture, it's alright not to voice an opinion on something, even if everyone else seems to do so. Because in the end, what we do, how we treat one another day to day, matters much more than what we think about them.

When it comes down to it, our words do not have nearly as much power as God's Word. So we would do well to learn to practice silence and listen to Him as often as we can.

Set aside quiet time every day to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Turn to Him with all your problems, your opinions, and your questions. He will simplify your life and teach you to lean on His Divine Providence.

My prayer: God, forgive me for the times when I speak without purpose. Forgive me especially for all the times my words have hurt other people. Please give me the strength, the patience, and the wisdom to know what You want me to say to bring glory to Your name.

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