As speaking can be either fruitful and positive, or barren and negative, so also silence can have a positive (+) or a negative (−) sign.
Here are a few examples of positive signs appreciated by God:
|+||when silence is used as a pure instrument for seeking out spiritual truth and God;|
|+||when silence is used as a means of communion between people who are otherwise distant and not communicating;|
|+||when silence is kept in the place of words of slander, of judgement, of condemnation, of insult, of hate, of envy, of discouragement;|
|+||when silence is not the absence of words but the renunciation of words that do not carry, like the wind, the seeds of life.|
|Silence is not appreciated by God when it is used:|
|−||so as not to tell the truth;|
|−||so as not to give valuable information;|
|−||so as not to save a person in danger;|
|−||so as not to witness against a powerful person;|
|−||through cowardice as in cases of honour;|
|−||so as to wash one's hands of a complicated problem;|
|−||so as to cover up egotism, falsehood, corruption, and the like.|
And you: have you decided which sign you would like your silence to have throughout your life?
Verbania, 20 VI 1991
All good moral philosophy is but a handmaid to religion.
Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, II, xxii.
Please send any suggestions for alternative translations of any of these meditations to Simon Grant.