The Importance of Silence for our Souls by Father Eamonn Bourke

The Importance of Silence for our Souls
by Fr. Eamonn Bourke

“Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle; a talkative soul will never attain sanctity. A silent soul is strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; God works in a silent soul without hindrance.”

(Extract from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina - No. 477)


A World of Noise
We live in a world of noise. Go into a shop and you hear music playing. Take any journey on a bus or a walk anywhere and you will see people with headphones in their ears listening to some music or other. Often the sound is so high that you can hear their music halfway down the bus! If it is not noise in their ears, it is noise in their mind. I mean that no matter where you go you will see people staring at some screen or another, reading social media or the like.

A Need to be Distracted
I remember working with groups of parents who had children for First Holy Communion or Confirmation. Any time we met together in the church we would incorporate a prayer service into the night. However as soon as there was even the slightest gap in proceedings or silence, they would start talking to each other and before long conversations would be going on all over the place. It seems that nowadays people can’t cope with the idea of being quiet or being alone by themselves with their own thoughts. People seem to have a need to be distracted.

Our heart searches for God
Today there is so much turmoil in the human heart due to the cares of this world and due to the problems that people face, that silence has become an enemy. This is probably truer today than ever in a world where people are not attending to the spiritual life. A heart that is not searching for God will always be in turmoil. A heart that is not attending to the presence of God will always be uneasy.

Silence is vital for our souls
In this profound extract from the Diary of St. Faustina, we learn about the importance of developing an attitude of silence within ourselves. Indeed, it would seem from Saint Faustina, that silence is vital in the spiritual life in defending the soul from the presence of the evil one. The evil one is the master of noise and distraction. He wishes to distract us away from focusing on the presence of God and the need for intimacy with Him. When we are silent, we are brought into contact with our deepest self. When we are brought into contact with our deepest self, this is often not an easy place to be. When brought into contact with our deepest self we often are brought into contact with our woundedness and our brokenness. This can be difficult.

Be Brave and Have Courage
However, it is a place we should not be afraid of. In the spiritual life, we need to be brave and we need to have courage. We need to sit with our brokenness in the silence and ask for the healing grace of God. For when we are silent, we are brought into contact, not just with our deepest selves, but also more importantly with the healing presence of the Holy Spirit of God working within us. God is present in the brokenness and woundedness that is ours. As Saint Faustina said: “The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God”.

Find time for Silence
Try taking some minutes each day in silence. Switch off your TV, power off the mobile phone; turn down the radio. Go to a quiet place and simply become aware of the presence of God within you. If emotions, thoughts, feelings or desires, good or bad, surface within you become aware of them and hand them over to God and ask for his healing. As the days pass try to spend a little longer in silence. Persevere. Before long your soul will become strong and capable of attaining the closest union with God. Holiness is within our grasp!

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