A Few Words About Silence

St. Francis of Assisi always sought out isolated places of solitude where he could enter deeply into silence so he could better hear God speak to him. To listen is to be silent.

The greatest malady of our time is the absence of stillness and silence. Modern life has become a dizzying merry-go-round of non-stop activity where it seems most of us are doing a thousand things all at once, where people are working longer hours and whose lives are increasingly fragmented by an endless array of demands, where multi-tasking and instant messaging are the norm in the consumer-crazed, computer-driven, cell phone crazy, blackberry world of ours that has virtually no room for stillness and silence.

Many people are questioning the very meaning of their lives. Many are eagerly seeking God because their lives seem empty even though their homes are stuffed with every gadget and convenience imaginable. But their search finds little trace of God or peace, because they do not realize that God cannot be found in noise and restlessness.

As the saints and mystics of all faiths down through the centuries have learned, God is a friend and lover of silence. For us, sadly, silence has become a foreign language. Simplicity is a friend of silence and is the key to unraveling the complexities of modern life. Silence is the soul of simplicity. Without silence, we are deaf.

We each need to create our own sacred space, a space outside the rat race, an oasis of silence, a space dedicated to inwardness, a simple space of sanity and sanctity. We can turn any space into a sacred space. A bedroom corner can be a basilica, a portal into the mystery and meaning of life. Silence is a vital part of the natural cycle of creation; it is a time of renewal, lying fallow, and gestation. True silence is a garden enclosed, where alone the soul can meet its God. Silence is the soil of renewal. In the incubator of silence, wisdom and tolerance are born. Life emerges in the darkness and silence of the womb. Silence is the language of God. We shout. God whispers. God works in silence. Without voice, God silently speaks in and through everything. Listen to the silence of nature and you will hear a symphony singing the praises of God.

Without listening, it’s impossible to know God – or peace. Prayer emerges naturally from silence. Silence produces an inner restfulness that helps the soul to soar. Silence gives us space for receptivity; it allows us to hear the speechless language of God and to respond with our hearts. To become more and more silent, to enter deeply into creative silence, takes courage. The wordless is foreign to us. Yet God transcends language and intellect. Empty your heart; sit in stillness. Quiet your fears; rest in God.


1 Response to “A Few Words About Silence”

  1. 1 Jose Luis February 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Wow, quite poetic and right on. We have to be grow to be very still and silent so as to be able to hear God’s voice in the gentle, quiet breeze as 1 Kings 19 states where Elijah was foolishly looking to hear Creator in the big, loud, and spectacular.

    “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (NIV)

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