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  • Writer's pictureMatt Woodcock

#29 Cecilia.

One of the ongoing issues in my married life is noise - me making too much of it.

My wife constantly encourages me to be a bit quieter.

Less cacophonous.

Apparently, I talk, eat, drink, shower, snore, walk - and even pray - way too loudly for her liking.

She’s perfect of course.

It came to a bit of a head the other night in bed.

I was waxing lyrical on a range of life-changing topics, when I noticed my beloved was a bit unresponsive.

There but not there if you know what I mean.

It turns out she was wearing industrial ear plugs.

How rude.

Well, the incident inspired me to take what I call a ‘Cecilia Day’.

Basically, six hours of silent solitude.

A day to turn my phone off and reflect on life, work and family.

Space to read, pray, meditate and listen to God.

Clearly I needed it - for all our sakes.

It was something I used to do regularly when my precious spiritual guide, Sister Cecilia Goodman, was alive.

I still miss her.

I loved her deeply.

Cecilia’s photograph (above) adorns my office wall.

I often find myself telling her how I’m feeling.

Those times I spent with my nun in York’s Bede Centre kept me on the spiritual and emotional straight and narrow for years.

They made such a difference to my relationships - with God, my loved ones and certainly with myself.

Cecilia was always convinced that silent hours of prayer and reflection could be times of healing, replenishment and restoration.

Not least in times of wilderness when life is a real struggle.

Cecilia once wrote that these difficult seasons were actually full of opportunity - ‘The opportunity to move into a wholly new and unimagined relationship with God...the wilderness enables us to know and be known by God in a new way - to discover we have been given life and given it abundantly.’

I’d recommend a ‘Cecilia Day’ to anyone - faith or no faith.

Keeping your mouth shut and heart open for a few hours can be a real difference maker.

Just ask my wife.

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