Thursday, April 12, 2007


It was said of Abba Agathon that for three years he lived with a stone in his mouth, until he had learned to keep silence.

What one discover in patience is the virtue of silence (hesychia). It is in silence and stillness that we develop attentiveness and awareness. It is through this attentiveness and awareness that we come to self-knowledge. The desert fathers and mothers are very aware of the importance of silence.

It is through the spiritual discipline of silence that we can hear, be aware of, and be sensitive to what is happening around us, and within us.

Silence is not the absence of sounds, of words, and of voices. It is the pause between sounds, between words, and between voices. It makes sense of what is spoken and what is unspoken. Silence is also the thread that holds our words and our actions. It is not an absence that makes silence, but a fullness of a presence.

We use words to justify ourselves, to defend our actions, to extend our influence, and to define our self-identity. Silence deconstructs us. Silence is a dying to self. Silence is a way of surrendering self in the hope of a resurrection.

Abba Alonius said:"If I had not destroyed myself completely, I would not have been able to rebuild and reshape myself again."

Silence never comes easy. We are always impatient to speak. Have you even wonder why do we need to speak? What motivates our speech?

Abba Poemen said: "Someone may seem to be silent, but if in the heart one is condemning others, then one is babbling ceaselessly. And there may be another who talks from morning till evening, and yet in the heart that person is truly silent. That person says nothing that is not profitable."

It is said that the language of God is silence. The language we shall speak in heaven. Is that why we find it so difficult to speak it here on earth?


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