Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity on Solitude and Silence

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In our modern age of hustle and bustle, of computer and networking, of 24/7 media onslaught and hectic pace of life, silence is a precious commodity. Even if one lives in a convent as I do, silence and solitude are values often misunderstood. Our western culture measures productivity by how busy we get and success by how efficient we are at completing a project. I find that in active ministry this is no exception. But there seems to be a double- standard. When a lay person works hard for their living, we call them materialistic and workaholics. If a Religious becomes obsessed with work, we call it holy dedication and “for the love of God and Community.” As most of us work in the active world, we can take solace in these words of Blessed Elizabeth.

“As I cannot break from the world and live in solitude, give me at least solitude of heart… Solitude and silence are so precious …I realize that one can enjoy interior solitude and silence, for what can distract a heart possessed by love? Noise reaches no further than the surface, deep down there is only Him! And He alone can satisfy our hearts.. Exterior silence is not the most necessary; in certain circumstances it is even impossible. Then the soul’s resource is to take refuge within itself, in that interior solitude which alone is necessary for union with God. But outward silence must be sought as much as possible, because it helps interior silence and normally leads to it: the love of silence leads to the silence of love.
God in me and I in Him, that is my life!… but for the vision, we always possess Him as the Blessed do in heaven. How wonderful is this presence of God in us, in the inner sanctuary of one’s soul! There we always find Him… Let us try never to leave Him alone, so that our lives may be an unceasing prayer.”

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