Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Importance of Silence in Prayer

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta often spoke about the need of silence in prayer.

“It is difficult to pray if you do not know how to pray, but we must help ourselves to pray. The first means to use is silence. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence. The interior silence is very difficult, but we must make the effort to pray... . In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself... .

Listen in silence because if your heart is full of other things, you cannot hear His voice. Now, when you have heard in the stillness of your heart, then your heart will be filled with Him. This will need much sacrifice, but if we really mean to pray and want to pray we must be ready to do it now. These are only the first steps toward prayer, but if we never make the first step with determination, we will not reach the last one: the presence of God.

Contemplative people and ascetics of all ages and religions have sought God in the silence and solitude of deserts, jungles and mountains. Jesus himself spent forty days in the desert and mountains for hours communing with his Father in the silence of the night. We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God, together as a community as well as personally; to be alone with Him — not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything — to dwell lovingly in His presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless.

We cannot find God in noise or agitation. In nature, trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence; the stars, the moon and the sun move in silence. The essential thing is not what we say but what God says to us, or what he says through us; in silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our soul. In silence He gives us the privilege to hear His voice. Silence of the eyes, silence of the ears, silence of the mouth, silence of the mind, in the silence of the heart God speaks... . Our prayer life suffers a lot because our heart is not quiet.”
---Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

"We cannot do great things; only small things with great love."

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