Regnum Christi

8 Ways to Enter Into Silence – Part 2

As a mom of five, it’s often hard to find quiet in the midst of our busy household. Each of our children plays a musical instrument, and other than the peaceful ukulele strums coming from behind the closed door of our teenage daughter’s room, the music produced by the drums, saxophone, and (fairly newly acquired) fiddle add to the cacophony of what is already a house full of noise. In our house, music competes from different rooms or speakers, someone is always arguing with someone, and our teenage boy feels the incessant need to shout over the commentary from the YouTube video playing through his constantly plugged-in ear buds (right now, he’s inexplicably obsessed with watching videos of ant farms…?). And despite the fact that we have a still fully functional intercom system original to our 1950’s house, we have the habit of calling (read: yelling) to each other on different floors and in different ends of the house. How do you find quiet in a noisy family, let alone the life of silence that, Cardinal Sarah says, “is a necessity if one is to understand himself.” I can’t even hear myself.

Thankfully, he gives us eight ways to seek the silence “where God dwells”, in every day life. Here are the last four:

  1. Detachment

“We must uproot ourselves from the world, from the crowd, and from all activity, even charitable works, in order to remain for long moments in the intimacy of God.”

Maybe for a Carthusian monk, living a life of solitude in a monastery cloaked in stillness, spending long periods of time in the silent intimacy of God is easy (though I suspect this life brings with it its own set of unique challenges). Cardinal Sarah doesn’t let us lay people off the hook though. Despite the fact that we live in families and work in communities, we’re still called to “uproot ourselves from the world”, not just from time to time (like at a monthly retreat or yearly spiritual exercises) but on a regular basis. Maybe the “uprooting” we’re called to is a mental one, less a separation of our bodies from the world and the crowd and the activity, and more a tearing away of our thoughts from the cares and concerns, even those of our charitable works, to which we are so attached. Can we create a virtual monastery in which we can settle our souls every day, a little cloister of the heart where we can, for a moment, set aside the world, the concerns, the activity, the to-do list, the work, and simply dwell in silence?

  1. Evening Prayer

“Get used to praying at night.”

I remember what it was like when we only had one, or even two, little ones in our family? We’d put them to bed at seven, and then the whole rest of the evening stretched out in front of us, time to work out, get some work done, eat popcorn and watch a movie, or quietly fold laundry in front of the TV. Now with older children and teenagers, we’re usually heading out at this time to drive somebody somewhere, when we used to be tucking them – and ourselves – in for the night. On the weekends, the kids are up later than us; we hear their movements and their chatter from our bed. Despite the late-evening noise and activity, we’re called to a moment of quiet at the end of a busy day, an offering of silent reflection of a day well (or perhaps poorly) spent. Get used to praying at night, says Cardinal Sarah, and “return to your heart, the place of true welcome, and the dwelling place of God’s silent tenderness.”

  1. Organization

“Study and preparation, …meditation, …a well-ordered personal spiritual life, … and silent prayer that is known only to God.”

Cardinal Sarah here quotes Pope Paul VI in his address on Nazareth, the school that teaches to us “how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers.” Nazareth essentially teaches us the value of silence. But as Pope Paul VI suggests, we can’t expect time for silent prayer to miraculously appear in our calendar. A “well-ordered spiritual life” demands preparation and organization, a setting aside of time for prayer, but also specifically for silence. “Therefore create silence!” says Kierkegaard, so that the Word of God can be heard. In a busy, noisy life, where silence does not naturally exist, it needs to be decisively and intentionally created. Schedule silence in.

  1. Union with Mary

“Mary’s example enables the Church to better appreciate the value of silence.”

If Luke teaches us anything in the second chapter of his Gospel, it is that Mary is the Queen of Silence. The woman who “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” is our ultimate teacher and guide. Ask for her intercession to better appreciate the value of silence!

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!