I am reading Athanasius’ biography of St. Anthony. He shows how Anthony’s discipline of silence did not prevent Satan’s attacks. In the silence Anthony was visited by anger and lust—anger when he compared his deprivation with others’ comforts, and lust when he found himself tempted to crave those comforts.
The spiritual life never makes us immune from temptation. Back to the earliest days of monasticism—and through the experience of one God’s strongest saints—we see our vulnerability.
In silence we have time and space to think. That’s a good thing, because clearness can create discernment.
But along the way, the same time and space can allow enemies to derail our thoughts. Anger and lust still wait at our doors—anger which creates jealousy…and…lust which creates craving.
We must recognize that silence and solitude require vigil—not only attending to the Holy Spirit, but also guarding our minds and hearts from the unholy spirit. That knock on the door of our heart may be friend or foe.