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The Importance of Silence

October 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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The Way of Perfection (Week 6 of 10)

What we can do ourselves is to try to be alone–and God grant that this may suffice, as I say, to make us realize in Whose presence we are and how the Lord answers our petitions. Do you suppose that, because we cannot hear Him, He is silent? He speaks clearly to the heart when we beg Him from our hearts to do so. It would be a good idea for us to imagine that He has taught this prayer to each one of us individually, and that He is continually expounding it to us. The Master is never so far away that the disciple needs to raise his voice in order to be heard: He is always right at his side.

The Way of Perfection, Chapter 24, Paragraph 5

The Importance of Silence

I'm not a naturally silent person. And I have a streak of extroversion in me that means that, however much I may think I long to be alone, it lasts for about five minutes and then I'm reaching out to my fellow human beings.

Some years ago, when our parish started Eucharistic Adoration, I was a brand-new Catholic. I was on fire for my faith, though, and enthusiastically signing up to do whatever I could to be more Catholic. Adoration seemed like just the thing.

That first hour, in the wee morning hours on a chilly Ohio spring day, was different than anything I had ever experienced. It complemented what I had been finding to be true of the Mass itself, but it was quite different.

For one thing, I was alone. Or, to be more accurate, it was just me and Jesus (and the angels who were creaking the pews the entire hour long).

For another thing, there was an enveloping, lightweight silence in the church that I had never fathomed.

Over the years, as my hour moved from early morning to middle of the night to afternoon to mid-morning, I've come to appreciate the many aspects of the slice of eternity I taste there.

It's not easy to find silence. And sometimes, when you find yourself without external noise, your internal voices just won't. shut. up.

In different seasons of my life over the last decade, I've had to pause my Adoration time. It's then that I realize just how critical that silence with Jesus is to my soul. It's like air for my soul.

I relate with St. Teresa in these chapters: she gives me hope, though I have no chance at being a contemplative anytime soon. I'm not great at prayer in any form, but I can concentrate and pray the Our Father and the Hail Mary. Sometimes, I can't think of anything else to say and I can't bear to just sit (those internal voices, once again, keep. on. talking.). Through the words of these prayers, I find a lifeline, even if it feels like I'm calling Jesus with a wobbly tin can on a string.

Sometimes, the first step is showing up, and that can be a very internal first step. You don't have to leave your house, but you might have to leave your comfort zone.

God's never far away, St. Teresa reminds us. We don't have to shout (though he can take it if we do). He's right there.

Reading Assignment:

Chapters 26-29

Discussion Questions:

1. What prayers comfort you? How can you use them to grow closer to God in a time of silence?

2. When can you make time for silence this week? If a parish close by offers Eucharistic Adoration, can you make time to attend?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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