Four Practices in Silence

We have two voices in our souls. One is the voice of fool­ishness and fear, which seeks diversions. The other is the voice of truth. How can we listen to the right voice?

1. The first answer is humility. Merton says, in Thoughts on Solitude, that “humility is in all things silent. Even when it speaks, it listens.”

Where do we go for our model of humility? To the Mother of God, the humblest of creatures even though she had the right to be the proudest. She not only models humility for us, she will, by her supremely humble and therefore supremely powerful intercessory prayers, obtain this great grace for us. She is not just a model, she is a mother; not just a “formal cause” but an “efficient cause,” not just a picture but a power. Satan trembles at her.

2. The Eucharist, and Eucharistic adoration, is a supremely powerful silencer and simplifier of the soul. It is totally simple, single, one-pointed, present, and suffi­cient. All we need, all we long for, all our hopes and loves, are right there, in “the source and summit of the Christian life,” as the Catechism says.

3. Monasteries are oases of silence in the deserts of noise. They are not for everyone to live in, but they exist for everyone to profit from. They are not escapes or alter­natives to life; they are lessons in life, special reminders of universal truths. Three of these truths are silence, solitude, and simplicity of heart. We all need these three things, no matter how active and complex our lives may be.

This need for a monasticism of the heart has never been greater. As life becomes more and more complex on the outside, we need, for the survival of our souls, to become more and more simple and silent on the inside, or we will lose our souls as a leaf is lost in the rush of whitewater rapids.

4. Nature also helps us to listen to the silence because nature’s voice is largely silent. Even its temporary noises come from its constant silence and speak of it. Listening to nature is the easiest kind of listening because nature’s voices are not personal and therefore not personally threat­ening (unlike human voices). Nature’s exterior silence impresses itself upon our hearts and produces an interior silence. The depths within respond to the depths without.

However we learn to be silent, we must learn. It is not an option. Without silence, we are doomed. Many say we are doomed if we do not abolish the world’s nuclear arse­nals. Many say we are doomed if we do not stop climate change.

I say we are doomed if we abolish silence. How much moral insanity, how much hate, how much private and public murder and violence would be prevented if every person in the world spent just fifteen minutes each day in simple, solitary, silent contempla­tive prayer? Even three minutes is sufficient to transform your life. The most important seconds are the first ones, where the decision is made.

This article is taken from a chapter in Wisdom of the Heart by Peter Kreeft, which is available from TAN Books.



Related Posts

Joy And Peace Through God Alone

Compiled from works of the greatest saints and theologians of the Church, The Soul Sanctified is a treasury of saintly counsel and fruitful meditations, covering topics such as detachment from earthly things, sins of habit, the Four Last Things, abandonment to the Divine Will, mortification, cultivating virtue, prayer, and consolation in the spiritual life. The following excerpt consoles the reader with meditation on the true joy and peace that is found in God alone.

Read More »
Discover the authority, strength, and wisdom of the Heavenly Host with A Year With the Angels. Join Mike Aquilina in meditation and prayer to explore the virtue, grace, and truth embodied by these celestial beings who stand before the throne of God.

The Wisdom Of Angels

A Year With the Angels invites you to discover the authority, strength, and wisdom of the Heavenly Host, who embody virtue, grace, and truth because they stand before the very throne of God. In this excerpt, join Mike Aquilina in meditation and prayer on the wisdom of the angels. 

Read More »
In the pursuit of holiness, expect opposition from the world. Saint Francis de Sales advises us to remain unwavering in our resolutions, standing strong against threats, insults, and assaults. Discover the courage to face adversity and stay true to your devout path.

In The World, But Not Of It

When we pursue the devout life, Saint Francis de Sales warns that the world will cast threats, insults, and assaults upon us of every kind. Here, de Sales reminds us that when the world mocks us in our pursuit of holiness, we must stand firmly rooted in our resolutions.

Read More »
Uncover the profound conversations between Saint Margaret Mary and Our Lord in this autobiography. Delve into her experiences, challenges, and ultimate decision to dedicate her life to the religious path.

Chosen As The Spouse Of Our Lord

In this autobiography from one of the greatest mystics in the Catholic Church, Saint Margaret Mary discloses the intimate conversations she had with Our Lord. Taken from her autobiography, the saint reveals the Lord’s words in choosing her as His spouse, the temptations she faced before entering religious life, and her resolution to enter the religious life.

Read More »