Recently I had the privilege of being on an eight day silent retreat with 13 other people, including priests and lay people, male and female. The director told us at the beginning “No talking, no thinking, no praying”. The “no talking” part was the easiest one to do. The “no thinking” part was more difficult. The “no praying” part needs more explanation because we associate going on retreat with praying as a central reason for the retreat. What he was talking about was vocal prayer where we use the prayers that we are all familiar with. He wanted us to do more listening than talking. So we spent about five hours everyday sitting quietly and listening. We came to realize that there is too much talking in our lives and all around us. In the midst of all of it are we even listening to ourselves? When we get quiet we begin to hear the “tiny whispering sound” that the prophet Elijah, in The Book of Kings, heard at the mouth of the cave.
Recently the Jesuit Master General wrote to the Jesuits throughout the world and emphasized the importance of silence for them and for all of us.
Recently Fr. Michael introduced five minutes of silence before Mass on Sundays. There is an opportunity for us, even in our busy lives, to become quiet and silent and enter more deeply into the prayer of the Eucharist and also listen to what God is saying to us.