O ur Constitution says in article 6: “Our vocation is characterized by the Word of God which is central in our lives… We are called to keep this Word in our hearts, to meditate on it, to study it, to share it, and to act on it.”
In the Bible, we find calls to silence in order to listen to the Lord:
“Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” (Zach 2:13)
“Let all the earth keep silence before the Lord.” (Hab 2:20)
“For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne.” (Wis 18:14-15)
Following the Jewish people, Christians hear the Word of God. And how can we hear it other than in silence?
In the section of the Constitution that is specific to contemplative life, it says: “Silence and enclosure are indispensable to allow the sisters so as to answer the call which directs them towards God in a permanent way” (art. 12c).
Thus our silence is a listening to the Word of God and a constant meditation, following the Blessed Virgin Mary who “kept all these things in her heart”, and at the same time, it is a response to the God who speaks to us in prayer.
How do we live this listening and this silence on a daily basis?
It is one of the foundations of our life. It is a space in us, that which is most true in us, which discretely dwells in us… trying to curb our little interior film!!!
In today’s throbbing world that often lives in the immediate, how can we not be touched by this? To try to take our distance, not to let ourselves be invaded… For example, in community, not to want to tell the latest news right away… To try to create a climate of silence, not to speak as we come and go, on the stairs… To try to speak softly. (which becomes difficult with the deafness of our ages!), and to respect our sisters’ silence…
Pope Francis often reminds us of silence when he asks: no chatting, no gossiping, which is so harmful.
In our project of life, we wrote: “We speak to one another instead of speaking about one another.”
Let us also remember the Letter of St. James: “Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect… With our tongue we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.” (Jas 3:2.9)
Silence can only be a source of peace and of joy, listening to God who speaks to our heart. If our houses are called “Solitude” this is so that each sister might live in her heart alone with God…
Is Fr. Marie not present in Sion in order to pass on to us this grace of silence?
“She said nothing, but I understood everything.”
Sr Claire Elisabeth Catier and Sr Jean François Veillet Lavallée
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