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Twelve years ago on this day, a cross-denominational and cross-church initiative launched the 2010 Year of Silence with the goal of drawing attention to the importance of silence, prayer, and the right balance between work and rest. It is such a nice coincidence for me to be able to put these ideas on paper in the quiet of a monastery evening. We just finished the day with Compline’s final blessing. The new day will begin to cry three times “Lord, open my lips” – “Therefore my mouth declares your praise.” And between: silence. There is no stubborn silence – there is room for “good night” in a quiet voice. But everything else does not need to be clarified now until tomorrow morning.
Peace and quiet – a precious commodity in our hectic and often excited times, where we can communicate around the clock thanks to smartphones and Netflix, get information and let ourselves take a shower, but in it there are so many people, according to the motto “YOLO” (You only live once ) is almost unbroken, even in their spare time, and ‘fear of losing something’, the fear of losing something, has become a new form of social fear.
We are at the beginning of advent season. The liturgical color purple indicates that Advent is a time of silence, a time of preparation. Definitely: You can overeat with “meditative” offerings, whether religious or more secular, as well as with gingerbread and marzipan potatoes. But what about examining the current balance between work and rest, both online and offline, and making an adjustment here and there over the next four weeks?
What do we really miss if the TV is off during meals and one of the first looks in the morning or last glimpse in the evening isn’t for the news on the many social media accounts? What if we treat ourselves in the afternoon or evening without using a smartphone during the week or if the internet goes to sleep after dinner? And do our followers on Facebook, Instagram and Co lose really important insights when we share, comment and tweet less?
The time and place for silence, because: “If you can’t stand silence, you can’t stand yourself either.” (Anke Magauer Cherry)
Ricarda Maine is a teacher of English, History and Catholic Religion. She is also active in the pastoral ministry of the Bergische Universität Wuppertal.
Viewpoint reflects only the opinion of the respective author.
Communicator. Reader. Hipster-friendly introvert. General zombie specialist. Tv trailblazer