Love of Solitude and Silence
a suitable time for leisure and meditate often on the favours of God. Leave
curiosities alone. Read such matters as bring sorrow to the heart rather than
occupation to the mind. If you withdraw yourself from unnecessary talking and
idle running about, from listening to gossip and rumours, you will find enough
time that is suitable for holy meditation.
many great saints avoided the company of men wherever possible and chose to
serve God in retirement. "As often as I have been among men," said one
writer, "I have returned less a man." We often find this to be true
when we take part in long conversations. It is easier to be silent altogether
than not to speak too much. To stay at home is easier than to be sufficiently on
guard while away. Anyone, then, who aims to live the inner and spiritual life
must go apart, with Jesus, from the crowd.
man appears in safety before the public eye unless he first relishes obscurity.
No man is safe in
than this, the security of the saints was always enveloped in the fear of God,
nor were they less cautious and humble because they were conspicuous for great
virtues and graces. The security of the wicked, on the contrary, springs from
pride and presumption, and will end in their own deception.
promise yourself security in this life, even though you seem to be a good
religious, or a devout hermit. It happens very often that those whom men esteem
highly are more seriously endangered by their own excessive confidence. Hence,
for many it is better not to be too free from temptations, but often to be tried
lest they become too secure, too filled with pride, or even too eager to fall
back upon external comforts.
only a man would never seek passing joys or entangle himself with worldly
affairs, what a good conscience he would have. What great peace and tranquillity
would be his, if he cut himself off from all empty care and thought only of
things divine, things helpful to his soul, and put all his trust in God.
man deserves the consolation of heaven unless he persistently arouses himself to
you desire true sorrow of heart, seek the privacy of your cell and shut out the
uproar of the world, as it is written: "In your chamber bewail your
sins." There you will find what too often you lose abroad.
cell will become dear to you if you remain in it, but if you do not, it will
become wearisome. If in the beginning of your religious life, you live within
your cell and keep to it, it will soon become a special friend and a very great
silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns the hidden
truths of Scripture. There she finds a flood of tears with which to bathe and
cleanse herself nightly, that she may become the more intimate with her Creator
the farther she withdraws from all the tumult of the world. For God and His holy
angels will draw near to him who withdraws from friends and acquaintances.
is better for a man to be obscure and to attend to his salvation than to neglect
it and work miracles. It is praiseworthy for a religious seldom to go abroad, to
flee the sight of men and have no wish to see them.
wish to see what you are not permitted to have? "The world passes away and
the concupiscence thereof." Sensual craving sometimes entices you to wander
around, but when the moment is past, what do you bring back with you save a
disturbed conscience and heavy heart? A happy
can you find elsewhere that you cannot find here in your cell? Behold heaven and
earth and all the elements, for of these all things are made. What can you see
anywhere under the sun that will remain long? Perhaps you think you will
completely satisfy yourself, but you cannot do so, for if you should see all
existing things, what would they be but an empty vision?
your eyes to God in heaven and pray because of your sins and shortcomings. Leave
vanity to the vain. Set yourself to the things which God has commanded you to
do. Close the door upon yourself and call to you Jesus, your Beloved. Remain
with Him in your cell, for nowhere else will you find such peace. If you had not
left it, and had not listened to idle gossip, you would have remained in greater
peace. But since you love, sometimes, to hear news, it is only right that you
should suffer sorrow of heart from it.