At St. Francis Borgia we have been focusing on the theme of silence this Lent. An important part of priest’s lives are silent retreats. These extended periods of silence always help me to refocus my life. My first silent retreat was quite an experience. I visited New Melleray Abby in Dubuque Iowa to spend some time with the Trappist order. As monks, the Trappists live a life dedicated to silence, prayer, fasting, and manual labor. They do all this in a cloistered monastery-a place where the monks choose to live the rest of their lives. While there, I was struck by the power of their vocation. This community of men sought after one thing – the one thing that really matters.
What is it that really matters?
Sometimes it may seem to be recognition.
“I want to be remembered for…” we may say. Sometimes it may seem success is the most important. Work, school, or sports takes so much attention in our lives we often think what really matters in life is to do well in one of those areas.
However, deep down each of us knows none of this is enough. Like the James Bond film told us in 1999 – “The world is not enough”. Without a doubt, this life is full of beauty, adventure, and joy, but we long for something even more. Nothing can satisfy us but God himself.
We are blessed to have the examples of religious monks and nuns who live a radical life for Christ. Their life of silence, prayer, fasting, and hard work remind us that you and I are called to live for something greater. The amazing part I have learned over the years is those who dedicate themselves to such a radical life are the happiest, most down to earth, joyful people I have ever met! The more we dedicate ourselves to our ultimate end, to what really matters, the more joy we find.
I hope that you are able to find a bit of time for silent prayer this Lent. Through the power of silence God shows us to seek the one thing that really matters.
Written by: Fr. Patrick Burns