Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present. An old abbot was fond of saying, “The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.” The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.
Believe me, you have too many practices already. What is needed is rather a progressive inner simplification. Too many people identify spiritual prowess with being perpetually busy heaping meditation upon meditation, prayer upon prayer, reading upon reading instead of learning from the simple souls the great secret of knowing how, from time to time, to hold yourself back a little in peace and silence, attentive before God.
In worship, silence is far more that the absence of sound. Silence constitutes a vital part of the divine-human dialogue. In silence, worshipers can experience interchanges with God that will not be known where silence does not prevail.
The quiet hour of prayer is one of the most favourable opportunities he has in which to speak to us seriously. In quietude and solitude before the face of God, our souls can hear better than at any other time.
Silence promotes the presence of God, prevents many harsh and proud words, and suppresses many dangers in the way of ridiculing or harshly udging our neighbours…If you are faithful on keeping silence when it is not necessary to speak, God will preserve you from evil when it is right for you to talk.