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The Power of Silence

February 26, 2020
By Tracy Shaw

We have entered the season of Lent, the part of the liturgical calendar where we focus on prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works to prepare for the celebration of Easter and the Risen Lord. Lent comes at a time in the traditional calendar when our New Year’s Resolutions have long been forgotten, so the Liturgical Calendar has given us a second chance at creating a new habit or getting rid of a bad one. 

Over the course of my life I have made Lenten promises to fast from eating ice cream, fast from social media, or feast on daily prayer.  In my early twenties I made a promise to fast from gossip more specifically speaking negatively about others.  This particular promise was life-altering.  I remember spending many times in groups of people and being silent. I became very aware of the fact that social gatherings turned quickly into conversations which were judgmental of other’s behaviors, appearances, and decisions.  

I am reminded of this verse from a Lenten prayer which I reflected on recently, Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling in them…. Fast from gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.(www.xavier.edu)

It is important that we all think before we speak or more importantly what we post about anybody.  We can never know what someone is truly feeling or dealing with in their life.  If we stop and take a minute, an hour, a day and are silent when people around us are gossiping or negative, seeing how it feels, and instead say, “Maybe that person is going through a rough time.”  How long would you be silent?  How long before you would stop the conversation from occurring?  How does this silence make you feel?  

The year I fasted from gossip or negative talk; my spirit felt lighter.  It had positive impacts on my social interactions.  My statements were one of honesty and truthfulness!  So this Lenten season, be mindful in your choices, speak from a place of love and compassion.  The rewards will be greater than you can imagine!  Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips, Psalm 141,v 3

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