Here's the post...
Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God's will that we speak. A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God works in a silent soul without hindrance.I read the words above on a Sunday morning a number of weeks back. At the time, I didn't realised what they would mean in my life. That particular Sunday morning was the week after Easter. It's very significant in the Catholic calendar. It's when we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.
~ Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
The image of a sword cutting a person off from the things that cling is very apt. These clinging things are so stuck on that it does take a literal sword to remove them.
Being silent is not something I'm good at; especially as a blogger being silent can almost be the death of a blog. But silence is something I have yearned for, something that can and has come naturally to me that my self fights against. I know that sounds oxymoronic; the inability to be silent yet the desire to be so. However to explain the dichotomy in myself on this aspect is just too much at this point.
Yet I have been silent on the blogs over the last few weeks. This has been very good for me. The silence allowed me to stop desiring to comment on all and sundry and instead gave me the space to just take things in. To that end, I've managed to read a number of books that have had a profound impact.
Prior to my sojourn into silence, I had just finished reading Father Elijah, An Apocalypse and Those Terrible Middle Ages, Debunking the Myths.
Father Elijah was an amazing book. One that takes you into the internal spiritual battle that is required to survive battling the forces of evil. Most of the battle is within and once you are at your weakest, it only then that God can work unimpeded through you. The book is written from an orthodox Catholic viewpoint and was such a compelling read that I read it in a couple of days.
Those Terrible Middle Ages has been translated from French and was written more that 30 years ago. The author takes you through the myths that many people had of the Middle Ages; mainly that the people were ignorant and that the times produced very little of value. The most astounding thing is how little research has gone on into this period of 1000 years of Western history. The author explains a little of why this might be; namely a growing interest in the late middle ages of ancient Roman law which centralised power. As more and more Roman (Empire) law (and culture) was adopted, freedoms decreased, included the freedom of women and the return of slavery.
The next few books I read, in order were: Michelangelo in Ravensbruck: One Woman's War Against the Nazis, Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal.
The first, Michelangelo in Ravensbruck, was by a Polish Countess caught up in both the Soviet and Nazi sides of occupied WW2 Poland. Her family background and her own personal character ensured that she would do everything she could to thwart both invaders of her country. Her public mission to ensure that all prisoners in Nazi-controlled Poland get food led to her eventual imprisonment in a concentration camp for women in Germany called Ravensbruck.
I found her experiences and insights really interesting. There is this idea floating around that the Nazis were monstrous individuals and that (of course) nothing like Nazi Germany could occur again. Yet in reading this book, it seems that it's not a matter of if it will occur again, it's just a matter of when. Most disturbing really as the individuals in the book are not that far removed from our own time.
The next two books that I read; Strangers and Sojourners and Plague Journal were written by the same author (Michael D. O'Brien) as the book Father Elijah mentioned towards the beginning of this post. Both books were incredible. I really love good Catholic fiction as it can show you a world and a mystery than can be unfathomable in any other genre.
I now have the next book in the series to read, Eclipse of the Sun. But it will have to wait until I finish a riveting book by Philip F. Lawler, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture.