Thursday, December 3, 2009

Music of Silence

I've begun a new book called Music of Silence, A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day. A little from the back cover says: "a noted Benedictine monk shows how to incorporate the sacred meaning of monastic life into our everyday lives. He demonstrates how to "be here now" by following the natural rhythms of the hours of the day.

This is from the chapter Vigils, the night watch. He's talking about affluence and how it always demands more. "The word affluence suggests that whatever flows in never comes out. Our affluent society stays affluent by making the containers bigger when they are just about to overflow, like a fountain with its lovely veils of water spilling over. The economics of affluence demand that things that were special for us last year must now be taken for granted; gratefulness is taken away from us. But if we make the vessel smaller and smaller by reducing our needs, then the overflowing comes sooner and with it the joy of gratefulness.

The less you have, the more you appreciate what you've got. With the extraneous stripped away, you begin to realize how you are being graced by life's gifts. This is at least one sense in which the poor are blessed. When your needs are limited, your vessel is easily filled, and you can delight in the overflow.

Monks experience the overflow sooner; poor people experience it sooner than wealthy ones, because the vessel is smaller. With monks, who by custom have few and simple possessions, it is artificially made smaller, and so the joy of overflowing comes sooner. If you normally have just soup for your meal, and all of a sudden you get a second course of potatoes, that feels like a wonderful gift, a blessing, and you are thrilled."

After my last bout of decluttering, I begin to see how true this is. I still spend way too much time going through papers, magazines, etc. I don't want to be a chronic paper shuffler. I want to be able to turn more outward and help the less fortunate, the young mothers, my grandchildren, and anyone else that needs me. And so the decluttering continues... will there ever be a time when I'm not a slave to paperwork? I hope and pray so.


Pom Pom said...

Hi Debbie!
Thank you for coming by my blog and leaving such a sweet, thoughtful comment. I noticed The Cloister Walk is one of your favorites. I was just thinking about it the other day. I need to pull out KN's books again. Thank you for reminding me.
Your life sounds full of sweet blessings and it seems like you are simply humbled by God's great grace.

Pom Pom said...

Hi Debbie! I just had to come back here and tell you that I ordered "Music of Silence" and I eagerly await it's arrival. Thank you for the suggestion.