God’s first language is silence.
In commenting on this beautiful, rich insight of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, in his work Invitation to Love, writes: Everything else is a poor translation. In order to understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God
… be nourished in prayer, which is a moment of silent, intimate encounter in which a human being stands face to face with God.
Let us not fool ourselves. This is the truly urgent thing: to rediscover the sense of God.
I think that we are the victims of the superficiality, selfishness and worldly spirit that are spread by our media-driven society. We get lost in struggles for influence, in conflicts between persons, in a narcissistic, vain activism. We swell with pride and pretention, prisoners of a will to power. The only reality that deserves our attention is God Himself, and God is silent. He waits for our silence to reveal Himself.
Regaining the sense of silence is therefore a priority, an urgent necessity.
Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence.
Silence is not an idea; it is the path that enables human beings to go to God.
God is silence, and this divine silence dwells within a human being. By living with the silent God, and in Him, we ourselves become silent. Nothing will more readily make us discover God than this silence inscribed at the heart of our being.
I am not afraid to state that to be a child of God is to be a child of silence.
Conquering silence is a battle and a form of asceticism. Yes, it takes courage to free oneself from everything that weighs down our life, because we love nothing so much as appearances, ease and the husk of things. Carried away toward the exterior by his need to say everything, the garrulous man cannot help being far from God, incapable of any profound spiritual activity. In contrast, the silent man is a free man. The world’s chains have no hold on him.
Our busy, ultra-technological age has made us even sicker. Noise has become like a drug on which our contemporaries are dependent. With its festive appearance, noise is a whirlwind that avoids looking oneself in the face and confronting the interior emptiness. It is a diabolical lie. The awakening can only be brutal.
I am not afraid to call on all people of good will to enlist in a form of resistance. What will become of our world if it cannot find oases of silence?
Christ’s victory over death and sin is consummated in the grand silence of the cross. God manifests all His power in this silence that no barbarity will ever be able to sully.
When I traveled to countries that were going through violent, profound crises, sufferings and tragic miseries, such as Syria, Libya, Haiti, the Philippines after the devastating typhoon, I observed that silent prayer is the last treasure of those who have nothing left. Silence is the last trench where no one can enter, the one room in which to remain at peace, the place where suffering for a moment lays down its weapons. In suffering, let us hide ourselves in the fortress of prayer.
Then the power of the jailers is no longer important; criminals can destroy everything furiously, but it is impossible for them to break in and enter into the silence, the heart, the conscience of a human being who prays and nestles in God. The beating of a silent heart, hope, faith and trust in God remain unsinkable. Outside, the world may become a field of ruins, but inside our soul, in the deepest silence, God keeps watch. War and the processions of horrors will never get the better of God present in us.
Before God’s majesty, we lose our words. Who would dare to speak up before the Almighty? Silence is the essence of any attitude of prayer, because this silence, laden with the adored presence, manifests the humble acceptance of the creature’s limits vis-à-vis the infinite transcendence of a God who unceasingly reveals Himself as a God of love. To refuse this silence filled with confident awe and adoration is to refuse God the freedom to capture us by His love and His presence.
A human being enters into participation in the divine presence above all by letting himself be educated in an adoring silence, because at the summit of the knowledge and experience of God there is His absolute transcendence.
- Robert Cardinal Sarah Extract : The Power of Silence