A few months ago, I wrote about the spirituality of silence. (http://benedictinelutheran.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-spirituality-of-silence.html). Since then, I've been thinking about how a spirituality of silence might be relevant to those of us who don't live in a monastic cloister, such as the Carthusians that I wrote about in my previous article. I recently came across this passage from a book called "The Jesus Prayer" which emphasizes how times of intentional silence can give us freedom:
"Silence is not just a kind of ascetic discipline that we lay upon ourselves. It is not a clamp over our lips such as a schoolteacher might impose in calling for silence in the schoolroom. Rather silence means freedom from the bondage of words, freedom from the constraints of thought and desire, freedom from the compulsion to go on talking and thinking up ideas and adopting viewpoints and feeling desire - or repressing such feelings. We often read of this in one of our communion hymns:
Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand.....
At last all our inner drive to think and desire and form words can come to end. The whole person can rest and be at peace - and worship Christ."
(from pp. 63-64 of the book "The Jesus Prayer" by Per Olof-Sjogren - a great book about the Eastern Orthodox practice of praying the Jesus Prayer, from the perspective Swedish Lutheran priest).