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Silence in Advent Prepares Us for the Joy of Christmas

The topic of silence has grown in popularity on social media in recent months. This is especially true in light of the various pieces written on Cardinal Sarah’s brilliant book, The Strength of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise. Silence is an important topic. We are inundated with noise. This noise is not only an assault on our auditory faculties, but on our senses as a whole. The world wants to keep us distracted, busy, and living with a constant din buzzing in our ears. Why? Noise is a tool that the world and Satan use to keep us from God. It is easy to drown Him out in our daily lives by remaining focused on the endless onslaught. In reality, we cannot make serious progress in the spiritual life without silence. Saints are made in silence. It is through silence before the great mystery of God that we enter more deeply into communion with the Most Holy Trinity. That communion is what we are moving closer towards in each moment of every single day. It is in that communion that we will find beatitudo (happiness) and Heaven.

The Church understands our desperate need for silence. It is fitting that our liturgical year begins in a season of silence and waiting. As the late fall evenings lengthen towards the darkness of winter, we become more aware of the silence and stillness that are a part of the natural order of things. Creation seems to go into its own period of waiting. It is easy for us to miss what is going on around us in the busyness of the secular Christmas season. As we run around shopping for countless gifts—many of which, let’s face it, are unnecessary—attend parties, write Christmas cards, decorate our homes, and move about with frenetic energy, we can miss not only what is going on around us in Creation, but what is going on in the Church.

Advent is about to begin. As I have written before, it is an often missed, ignored, and over-looked liturgical season. In the Latin Rite it is still a penitential season, but not in a manner nearly as pronounced as with our Eastern Rite brothers and sisters. It can be easy for us to forget that Christmas is not upon us quite yet. Rather, we too are invited to enter into a period of waiting. This waiting requires regular periods of silence. In reality, we are always waiting for the Parousia (Second Coming), but Advent is the time when we are told to focus on silence and waiting. This is a difficult spiritual practice. Many of our cultures are already neck-deep in Christmas cheer and so it can be hard to live Advent, but in doing so, the joy of Christmas will be even greater.

Read more at Catholic Exchange. 

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