thoughts on silence…

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There is no better way to express what I was saying regarding silence than to quote those who taught on the subject. Of these, I will choose three great men who were experienced in this spiritual field.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, July4, 2010, Homily for the eight centenary of the birth of Pope Celestine V

“…we live in a society in which it seems that every space, every moment must be ‘filled’ with projects, activities, and noise; there is often no time to listen or to converse. Dear brothers and sisters, let us not fear to create silence, within and outside ourselves, if we wish to be able not only to become aware of God’s voice but also to make out the voice of the person beside us, the voice of others.”

Thomas Merton, “The Sign of Jonas”

“…Silence not a virtue, noise not a sin. True. But the turmoil and confusion and constant noise of modern society are the expression of the ambiance of its greatest sins – its godlessness, its despair. A world of propaganda, of endless arguments, vituperation, criticism, or simply of chatter, is a world without anything to live for…

“Catholics who associate themselves with that kind of noise, who enter into the Babel of tongues, become to some extent exiles from the city of God…

“Though it is true that we must know how to bear with noise, to have interior life, by exception here and there in the midst of confusion…, yet to resign oneself to a situation in which a community is constantly overwhelmed with activity, noise of machines, etc., is an abuse.

“What to do? Those who love God should attempt to preserve or create an atmosphere in which He can be found. Christians should have quiet homes. Throw out the television, if necessary – not everybody, but those who take this sort of thing seriously…

“Let those who can stand a little silence find other people who like silence, and create silence and peace for one another….

“Provide people with places where they can go to be quiet – relax minds and hearts in the presence of God – chapels in the country, or in town also. Reading rooms, hermitages. Retreat houses without a constant ballyhoo or noisy ‘exercises’…”

Robert Cardinal Sarah, “The Power of Silence”

“Today, in a highly technological, busy world, how can we find silence? Noise wearies us, and we get the feeling that silence has become unreachable oasis. How many people are obliged to work in a choas that distresses and dehumanizes them/ cities have become noise furnaces in which even nights are not spared the assault of noise.

“Without noise, postmodern man falls into a dull, insistent uneasiness. He is accustomed to permanent background noise, which sickens yet reassures him.

“Without noise, man is feverish, lost. Noise give him security, like a drug on which he has become dependent. With its festive appearance, noise is a whirlwind that avoids facing itself. Agitation becomes a tranquilizer, a sedative, a morphine pump, a sort of reverie, an incoherent dream-world. But this noise is a dangerous, deceptive medicine, a diabolic lie that helps man avoid confronting himself in his interior emptiness. The awakening will necessarily be brutal.”


Read. Study. Uplift your interior soul. Feed on the Gospels and the promises it contains.

Then meditate on them. Be silent. It is an action, a state of being. In that silence you will find peace. That peace comes knowing God’s will…and Love.

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