THE IMPORTANCE OF SILENCE
St. Alphonsus de Liguori
Note: The importance of Silence cannot be stressed enough in our day of frequent distraction and noise, for God does not speak to us in such things but in silence as ―in a gentle breeze is the Lord heard.‖ (3 Kings 19:12-14).
[Extracted from The True Spouse of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church] [Although written for religious sisters the benefit for those living in the world cannot be overstated.]
SILENCE, SOLITUDE, AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
[Only the section on Silence is here presented]
CASSIAN says: “The religious prays little who prays only when she is on her knees in the choir or in the cell.” (1) To fulfil the obligations of her state, a religious should keep her soul continually united with God; but to maintain this constant union, continual prayer is necessary. There are three means of acquiring the habit of continual prayer; namely, silence, solitude,and the presence of God. These were the means that the angel suggested to St. Arsenius when he said: “If you wish to be saved, fly into solitude, observe silence, and repose in God by always keeping yourself in his presence.”
(2) We shall speak of each of these means separately.
O my God, may the patience with which Thou hast borne me be forever blessed.
Thou hast given me time to love Thee, and I have spent it in offending and displeasing Thee.
Were I now to die, with what heartfelt pain should I end my life, at the thought of having spent so many years in the world, and of having done nothing.
Lord, I thank Thee for still giving me time to repair my negligence, and so many lost years. O my Jesus! through the merits of Thy Passion assist me.
I do not wish to live any longer for myself, but only for Thee, and for Thy love.
I know not how much of life remains, whether it is long or short; but were it a hundred or a thousand years, I wish to spend them all in loving and pleasing Thee.
I love Thee, O my Sovereign Good, and I hope to love Thee for eternity. I do not wish to be ever again ungrateful to Thee.
I will no longer resist Thy love, which has so long called me to be entirely Thine. Shall I wait till Thou abandon me, and call me no more?
Mary, my mother, assist me, pray for me, and obtain for me perseverance in my resolution to be faithful to God. Notes referenced in the text:
1 “Perparum orat, quisquis, illo tantum tempore quo genua flectuntur, orare consuevit.” –Collat. 10, c. 14 2 “Si vis salvus esse, fuge, tace et quiesce.” –Vit. Patr. l. 3, n. 190.
- “Silentium, et a strepitu quies, cogit coelestia meditari.” –Epist. 78
- “Cave a multiloquio; hoc enim sanctas cogitations extinguit.” –Doctr. 24 5 “Silent igitur paludes; hominess non silebunt?” –De Virgin. l. 3
6 “Omni tempore silentio debent studere monachi.” –Reg. c. 42 7 “Per silentium disci, quod postea proferatur.”
8 “Tunc solum loquendum est, quando plus proficit quam silentium.” –In Ps. cxl 9 “Aut tace, aut dic meliora silentio.”
- of perf. p. 2, tr. 2, ch. 8
- “Me saepe poenituit dixisse, nunquam tacuisse.” –Surius, 19 Jul
- “Cum Deo, multis; cum hominibus, paucis loquere.” –Encom. in Ps. 13 “Bis ad limam veniant verba, quam semel ad ” –Punct. perf. 7 14 Spec. disc. p. I, c. 31
15 “Loquamur Dominum Jesum, ipsum semper loquamur.” –In Ps. xxxvi.
Edited by Rev. Eugene Grimm, C.SS.R.
Nihil Obstat: Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D.,
Imprimatur: Patritius Cardinalis Hayes,