the beauty of silence

we need silence in our lives

i recently began to hike. i remember that a friend once told me that– for seasoned enthusiasts–listening to music was anathema while hiking. after four hikes now, i understand the wisdom in that statement. there is a real beauty in experiencing and listening to what the hike offers: the surprising chirp of a tiny bird, the subtle blowing of the wind, the cold air hitting my face. background music would have distracted me enough not to notice these graces. for me, it is best when it is silent during the hike.

in 2019, arthur c brooks wrote about beethoven’s deafness as a contributing factor to his brilliance as a composer ( ) one line has engaged my own thoughts. he wrote, “Deafness freed Beethoven as a composer because he no longer had society’s soundtrack in his ears.” 

being freed from society’s soundtrack

what are society’s soundtracks? i suppose that there are many soundtracks: cultural, psychological, familial, political, work-related, moral, fitness, dietary, emotional, economic, historical and more. these soundtracks can often be confusing and even discordant in our lives at times. even the religious soundtracks that play in our societal ethos can work against the best things that faith can offer. although on the surface they can seem good, ironically, can even be used for evil. the various soundtracks can shape us in ways that we are not aware.

if we only listen to our personal soundtracks, we can miss out on new and more harmonious sounds. if we take too seriously our own and our society’s soundtracks, we can diminish ourselves. in the extreme, our soundtracks can become addictions. if freed from the soundtracks, we can flourish in unexpected ways. that is just one lesson learned from beethoven becoming deafness. i believe that this is the Spirit’s work in the world and our lives.

what do i need to be freed from the soundtracks that have shaped me me?

profound silence is one key for me.

these days, in liturgy i really appreciate extended and deliberate silence: after each reading, before and after prayers and especially after communion. the Spirit moves in the silence. if you have ever been to a benedictine liturgy, you really can feel the graces in their prayerful silences. jesus as our model often goes off by himself to pray. after jesus prayed, he did wonderful miraculous things.

how do you cultivate silence in your life? how do i?

currently, we are in the “year of st joseph.” perhaps this quiet saint could be considered one of the patron saints of silence. let us ask st joseph’s intercession:

The Silence of Joseph echoes in a world of noise turning a cacophony of self-love into a melody of self-surrender.

The Silence of Joseph is a seed which bears the fruit of holiness and courage.

The Silence of Joseph drowns the din of sorrow and silences the wailing of the weak.

The Silence of Joseph draws the world to a cave in Bethlehem where God is born as a human and humanity is born again.

The Silence of Joseph draws us to our knees in worship of the Word made flesh in whose presence all human words lose their meaning.

The Silence of Joseph directs a symphony of silence which stills the universe in adoration of the One in Whom the New creation has come.

Let us join our silence to the Silence of Joseph By Deacon Keith Fournier


  1. Oh yes, I love this! First, silence while hiking is an absolute must! Why would one listen to anything but nature’s symphony? And two, silence, in general, is what’s best for me! I keep a very quiet house and I love it! I don’t even listen to music or tv in the background while I’m working. Peace and quiet is what speaks to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      amen my sister! peace comes through the silence

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alfredo A says:

    Great post! Please show some love to my blog


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