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20    The Two Signs of Silence

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.

English text by Simon Grant, based on the translation by George T. Peck revised 2008-02-27
[Original Italian by Davide Melodia]

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