Stop what you are
doing for a moment, sit down, collect yourself and meditate on a
most efficacious and grace-filled phenomenon. It is called
the Silence of Bethlehem.
This most profound
silence permeated all of creation on the night of Christ’s birth
when, as Sacred Scripture records, “The whole world was at
All of creation
briefly stopped so that it could witness the Holy Birth of our
Savior, the infant Jesus.
At this singular
moment, Heaven and earth beheld the God of all creation lying
helpless in His incarnation.
Ponder the silence
that filled that blessed cave, the only place where Joseph could
find sanctuary for his little family on that cold winter night.
Meditate on the
silence and peace that enveloped the hearts of Joseph and Mary
as they gazed upon the newborn Babe. The whole of creation stood
silent and motionless before His innocence, His helplessness,
His purity, His holiness, His divinity, His humanity.
Ponder the silence
that overwhelmed the shepherds as they approached in awe and
adoration. The words of the Psalmist thus fulfilled, “Be
still, and know that I am God.”
In our own time, we,
too, are called to be silent – called to a personal state of
stillness and quietude in thought, word and deed. For contained
in the tranquility of this inner stillness and quiet can be
found the whispers of God’s mighty voice. He speaks to us in
this silence. Down in the deepest, inmost part of our being, in
the quiet and silence of our hearts, He is there.
Our society and
culture have collectively programmed us to crave noise. We have
been conditioned to feel comfortable living in an environment
that surrounds and overwhelms us with an intense and oftentimes
painful amount of endless, mind-numbing cacophony. Lawn mowers,
televisions, automobiles, air conditioners, dirt bikes, boom
boxes - “Noise, noise, noise!” complained the Grinch.
This is so much so
that we have come to feel uncomfortable without noise.
Watch people during a
thunderstorm sometime when the electric power fails and all of
the lights go out. Everything is quiet. Everything that
depends upon electricity to operate ceases to function and grows
quiet and still.
Overwhelmed by the
sudden and uninvited silence, people become very uneasy and
uncomfortable. For some reason, we don’t like it.
Funny thing, though,
because this kind of silence and stillness was the norm, at
least it was before the industrial revolution.
through manipulation of our very culture and lifestyle, has
conditioned us to feel normal and comfortable in situations
where, by our created nature, we should not. He has trained us
to hate the quiet and despise the stillness, simply because he
knows all too well who it is we will encounter should we find
ourselves in situations of quiet solitude and tranquility.
Why do you think
there are televisions, video games and the many variations of
gas-guzzling mechanized contrivances, all of which comprise
today’s various and sundry forms of mindless (and always very
With a bit of
introspection, it becomes evident that these things are not mere
harmless devices innocently conceived for our mere
entertainment, rather they are spiritual distractions, barriers
placed between ourselves and the presence of God within us.
are malevolently and diabolically crafted with the sole purpose
of keeping us from hearing that “still, small voice”
inside us which is God.
God’s whispers cannot
be heard above the din of television, boom box or dirt bike.
Noise, by the way, is
not only auditory, it is visual as well.
everywhere a sign – everyone has something to sell, and what
better way to hawk the latest products than to inundate the
potential customer with a barrage of noisy, “in-your-face”
advertisements. Internet pop-up ad’s are all about being “in
your face,” too. One gets the distinct impression that silence
itself has been obliterated – washed clean from the face of the
If you’ve read this
far, you are probably asking yourself, “What does this have
to do with pornography?” The answer is – “A great deal”,
precisely because pornography is, in and of itself, a
significant component of that background noise to which we’ve
grown so blindly accustomed.
The point is that one
of the best and most effective tools at our disposal for
combating an addictive habit is to recover and nurture our
natural desire for peace, quiet and solitude. We do so by
reconditioning ourselves to grow accustomed to just such a
physical and mental state of calm, quiet, tranquil peace. In
other words, we rediscover the lost art of seeking the peace and
silence of Bethlehem.
A word of caution –
attaining a condition of calm, quiet solitude isn’t enough by
Remember, a demon
driven out will return in search of a place of residence.
If, upon his return,
he finds the house cleaned and empty, he will bring back seven
other demons, all worse than himself.
When the demon
returns, and he always does, make sure that your clean house has
been filled with the peace and silence of Bethlehem – that is,
with the very presence of God Himself.
Uproot the demon, the
bad habit, by seeking first the presence of God in the quiet and
solitude of your own heart.
Learn to actively
shut out the noise of the world and seek that place within us
where the silence of Bethlehem may be experienced over and over
again in communion with and in the very presence of God.
This process of
seeking spiritual union with God within us is most effective in
countering temptations of the mind, since after all, we are
temples of the Holy Spirit.
spiritual and mental exercise into daily practice will help you
to overcome the tempter’s suggestions and help clean up your own
mind which, as a direct consequence of addiction, has itself
become a bad neighborhood.
Focusing on spiritual
communion with our Lord is easier than you think.
It only takes a
little effort, and is sustained with a little practice.