Thursday, February 11, 2010

No More Blogging?

Some thoughts on SILENCE from Henri Nouwen's book, "The Way of the Heart."

A second, more positive meaning of silence is that it protects the inner fire. Silence guards the inner heat of religious emotions. This inner heat is the life of the Holy Spirit within us. Thus, silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive.

Diadochus of Photiki offers a very concrete image: "When the door of the steambath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts."

These words of Diadochus go against the grain of our contemporary lifestyle, in which 'sharing' has become one of the greatest virtues. We have been made to believe that feelings, emotions, and even the inner stirrings of our soul have to be shared with others.

...What needs to be guarded is the life of the Spirit within us. Especially we who want to witness to the presence of God's Spirit in the world need to tend the fire within with utmost care. It is not so strange that many ministers have become burnt-out cases, people who say many words and share many experiences, but in whom the fire of God's Spirit has died and from not much more comes forth than their own boring, petty ideas and feelings.


  1. This really struck a chord with me. I feel a strong instinct sometimes to court silence in several different ways, as if it will bring a great benefit that I can't quite name or put my finger on. But my efforts never seem to take me where I feel that I somehow have the potential to get to. I'm not sure if this makes sense.

  2. Silence is a great challenge for me too. I find it helpful to focus on being a more intentional listener, however this is a constant struggle for me. I have a magnetic sticker on my fridge quoting Shakespeare, "Talkers are no good doers!" Yet why do I keep blabbering on. LORD have mercy.