What ever happened to the silence in our lives?
The Lord’s message to us, once again, in this season of Advent, is that we need to stand ready and watchful, waiting for his return. Jesus came to us in the manger at Bethlehem; he will come again at the end of time; but most pressing for us right here and now is his coming each moment into our hearts. How can we create space in our hearts for him when our lives are filled with noise? We can hear his still, small voice only in quiet.
We fill our lives with the noise of screens and devices. Our attention is constantly distracted by our recreational use of devices which exerts too much control over us. Fr. Steve witnesses to the fact that giving up his smart phone, and doing away with TV and Internet access at his home has made him a better man. His life is no longer filled with noise. He is more peaceful, more focused, more receptive to the Holy Spirit.
Neil Postman wrote an article in 1985, “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” In it he refers to George Orwell’s book, “Animal Farm,” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Fr. Steve compares those apocalyptic scenarios to our current straits where we have willingly imprisoned ourselves behind our own devices and we smile, sickly and solitary, behind the bars of our own noise-beleaguered cells. For some, both men and women, addiction to devices can open them to the “lure of the impure.” Facebook, video games, and other social media can be as addictive.
Drawing on Cardinal Sarah's book, "The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise," Fr. Steve laments that the world we have created for ourselves is a kind of hell and Satan frequently uses devices to keep us slaves. Our weak flesh and the world cooperate readily with Satan.
There is really only one way out of this pattern of addiction and slavery: Jesus. Only he can satisfy our craving to fill the void in our lives. Instead of filling that void with images, distractions and the blare of the world, this Advent, give yourself the treat of silence.