The contemplative soul does not meddle with exterior attachments or human respect, but it communes inwardly with God, alone and detached, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence.
- St John of the Cross
Perhaps you know of Pascal’s cry as he stared at the stars that shone to the limits of the universe. He was seized by the great silence of a winter night aglow with the brightness of the stars and exclaimed: The eternal silence of the infinite spaces fills me with dread!
God is eternal silence; God dwells in silence.
The works of God are marked with silence. It is in the silence of prayer and retreat, in the silence of the desert and the forest, that great souls receive their message from God. Recall how Saint Bernard enriched the whole of Europe with silent monasteries. In order to describe the beauty of silence, he used to say: The oak trees of the forest have been my masters of prayer. Silence is the great master. It speaks to the human heart. Silence is not an empty void; God dwells therein.
Whoever embraces silence, welcomes God and whoever relishes silence, hears God speak. Silence is the echo of God’s eternity.
Are you seeking to find God? Then listen to the silence; immerse yourself in silence.
The soul must not be a public square, where there is always a crowd of gossipers or of persons recalled from the past with their tales of suffering and rebuke. Such types, seething at their imagined foes and smarting in their own self-love, are seriously at fault. There should be nothing like that among us. Silence should penetrate deep within us and occupy every area of our inner home. Thus is our soul transformed into a sanctuary of prayer and recollection.
When we meet one day in heaven, we should be filled with joy that we have done everything asked of us. We should have given the Lord, not lip service, but lives of humble, habitual, and complete silence. Amen.
- Pere Jacques. Listen to the Silence. ICS publications.