It is becoming nearly impossible to find a quiet place in our frenzied world. However, those seeking refuge from the noise and intemperance can still find it. They just need to know where to look.
This became clear for me on a recent trip to visit friends in North Carolina. They are blessed to have an adoration chapel at their local parish where people can adore our Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. As usual, I spent time there in prayer, study and reflection. The silence was deafening.
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On this occasion, a woman walked in, sat down, closed her eyes, and did “nothing.” As other adorers came and went, she maintained a statue-like stillness. It occurred to me that she was doing something more than praying. Her ability to remain still in the presence of the Immovable Mover was striking. It was as if she were imbibing our Lord, inhaling Almighty God.
This scene impressed me so much it occupied my thoughts as I later drove to a nearby eatery that is known for its homebrew and local cuisine. Upon entering, I was welcomed by a smiling hostess and the inescapable noise some call music.
What a stark contrast to what I had just witnessed in the chapel!
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I kindly asked the manager if he could turn the noise down. While he begrudgingly complied, I noticed two gentlemen sitting at the next table who appeared to be in their eighties. They had not grown up with the kind of music that was playing.
The ability of octogenarians to coexist with such “music” never ceases to amaze me. The world has radically changed in their lifetimes, but basic human needs remain the same. We have immortal, rational souls which require at least a modicum of calm to assimilate myriad daily impressions. However, people of all ages adapt to a changing world rather than seek after these human needs. In the case of the elderly gentlemen, they accepted things, which they would have strongly condemned in their youth.
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My dining experience would not be cause for complaint were it an isolated event. However, we live in a world where we can hardly find a place of peace and quiet. Noise and agitation are so omnipresent even after pumping gas. We now witness screens that offer us yet more noise and nonsense. With all the distraction and hardly a place to escape, we should not be surprised at the rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, loneliness and unhappiness everywhere.
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If this describes you, don’t lose heart. The way to find rest for your weary souls is by imitating the adoration-chapel lady. Her ability to sit quietly in one place is an example for all of us. As the rest of humanity rushes to and fro, she can be still. In this sense, she takes to heart the paternal words of Our Savior, who said, “Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”