It is also one of my favorite chapter. When I was with sisters, I observed that they have great respect of silence and try to avoid unnecessary chat as much as I can. Compared with their life, I really did not understand the importance of silence. I spent too much time on internet, on QQ and chat with different friends. Fellowship is important, but if it is at the stake of time of prayer and the risk of gossip and committing sin. I do need to learn more about the importance of silence.
Let us do what the Prophet saith: “I said, I will take heed of my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I have set a guard to my mouth, I was dumb, and was humbled, and kept silence even from good things” (Ps 38:2-3). Here the prophet showeth that, if at times we ought to refrain from useful speech for the sake of silence, how much more ought we to abstain from evil words on account of the punishment due to sin.
Therefore, because of the importance of silence, let permission to speak be seldom given to perfect disciples even for good and holy and edifying discourse, for it is written: “In much talk thou shalt not escape sin” (Prov 10:19). And elsewhere: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov 18:21). For it belongeth to the master to speak and to teach; it becometh the disciple to be silent and to listen. If, therefore, anything must be asked of the Superior, let it be asked with all humility and respectful submission. But coarse jests, and idle words or speech provoking laughter, we condemn everywhere to eternal exclusion; and for such speech we do not permit the disciple to open his lips.
I still remember, when I was sisters, a sister wanted to talk with me. She has to ask for the permission from Mother. I felt a little bit too much. However, St. Benedict said that ” For it belongeth to the master to speak and to teach; it becometh the disciple to be silent and to listen.” In today’s society, we often think that we know everything even we do not know. We hope that our opinions to have positions even sometimes our opinions do not make a lot of sense, even harmful to the souls of ours and other people. I was like that when I was young, I liked to challenge everything, but because of that, I missed too many chances to learn. I have to be a disciple first. Humility and modest are important. Silence are the way to make us close to that.