Thursday, September 22, 2011

Silence and the Sabbath

St. Augustine of Hippo, in his "Sermon 8" on the Third Commandment -- keeping the Sabbath holy -- wrote about stopping, being still, and listening:

"The third commandment enjoins quietness of heart, tranquility of mind.  This is holiness.  Because here is the Spirit of God.  This is what a true holiday means, quietness and rest.  Unquiet people recoil from the Holy Spirit.  They love quarrelling.  They love argument.  In their restlessness they do not allow the silence of the Lord's Sabbath to enter their lives.  Against such restlessness we are offered a kind of Sabbath in the heart. As if God were saying, 'Stop being so restless, quieten the uproar in your minds.  Let go of the idle fantasies that fly around in your head.'  God is saying, 'Be still and see that I am God' (Ps. 46)."

This quote was discovered in Martin Laird's book, Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation (Oxford Press 2006).   I recommend this book to give to those who are seeking to live with more of a contemplative awareness and practice in the midst of their busy and active lives.

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