Question: The chapter on silence (27) has been named by several Brothers as one of the richest and most important in the Rule, and I believe it is still the case that, next to food, the silence at the Society’s houses is the most commented on feature of guests’ experience. Does that surprise you?
Br. Geoffrey Tristram: It doesn’t surprise me at all. As a culture, we are simply saturated with input. It come at us on every front, usually from multiple sources. To put limits on that—the grace of limitation that we were talking about earlier—is counter-cultural. The din of noise is deafening, whether it’s literal—coming from the radio, television, and CD player—or figurative, in the barrage of information that comes to us through the Internet and smart phones. The monastic tradition bears witness to the quietness of God’s voice, to how it is heard in stillness, not in “earthquake, wind or fire,” but in “sheer silence.”