"Be Still and Know that I Am God."
"Whoever wishes to come after me must take up his cross daily and follow me."
Following Christ calls for a daily conversion to Him, a daily dying to self in order to live with and for Him. This daily death can only be sustained by a generous spirit of asceticism. Our Constitutions call us individually and as a community to make our whole life a sacrifice of praise. This joyful following of Christ marks both our interior and exterior as from morning until night we lovingly fulfill all that obedience requires.
One notable expression of individual and communal asceticism is the practice of silence. Silence has been seen as a necessary foundation of the spiritual life from the earliest times. The first monastics valued silence greatly, not as an end to be sought for its own sake, but as a means. It is a means of coming to know one's self better, of letting go of our unnecessary attachments, and of coming to an openness to God. In true silence, both interior and exterior, one is able to confront weaknesses and faults which are so easily masked by noise and haste.
Most importantly, silence provides a space for an encounter with our loving God. As Elijah experienced in the desert, God does not speak to us in tumult and noise, but in the stillness. If the body is noisily bustling, if the soul is busy chattering to itself, there is no space for God to speak. In silence we can come to an awareness of God's presence leading to a recollected repose in God. We pray that Mary, Mother and Model of Religious, will give us a share of her own silence that we may ever be recollected in the presence of God.
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