I woke up in silence today, the first day of Lent. Usually I wash up in the morning to the sounds of either Mozart or a stimulating podcast. But for the next 40 days I will shave in silence; I will do my morning stretches in the still emptiness of a city before dawn. I will listen only to the Word of God before going downstairs and watch nothing more than the light quietly rising from the east.
Fasting from food is essential, but fasting from noise is no less essential. Giving up sweets heals our bodies, but giving up noise heals our souls. Silence of the ears, silence of the eyes, silence of the touch: this purifies our souls to receive God and His wonders. This Lent, I warmly recommend fasting from screen time, from music, from podcasts and “news,” from useless conversations (e.g., gossip). Read a book instead. The written word, received in silence and recollection, is still the best way to see and hear God’s truth, goodness, and beauty.
I woke up in silence today, dreading my usual discipline of silence for forty days. Having entered the emptiness, however, my deeper senses quickly sharpened, and I rejoiced in the stillness. In the silence of the heart God speaks, and I’m ready to listen.