If he does not profit from my silence, neither will he profit from my speech. ~ Abba Pambo
Quietude, which some men cannot abide because it reveals their inward poverty, is as a palace of cedar to the wise, for along its hallowed courts the King in his beauty deigns to walk. ~ Charles H Spurgeon
To pray is to listen, to move through my own chattering to God, to that place where I can be silent and listen to what God may have to say. ~ Madeleine L'Engle, author
In silent prayer there are not words and hence no thoughts. We are still. This silence is nothing to be afraid of. Five or ten minutes, whatever can be spared: you are just there to stand in His presence and let Him talk possession of you. ~ Sister Wendy Beckett; Sister Wendy on Prayer
Most of us can manage a ten minute silence. . . . Take these times, poor crumbs of minutes though they be, and give yourself to God in them. You will not be able to feel prayerful in them, but that is beside the point. You pray for God's sake, you are there for Him to look on you, to love you, to take His holy pleasure in you. What can it matter whether you feel any of this or get any comfort from it? We should be misers in prayer, scraping up these flinders of time and holding them out trustfully to the Father. But we should also watch out for the longer stretches which may be missing because we do not want to see them. Many things that are pleasant and profitable - television programs, books conversations - may have to be sacrificed at times. But you will make this and any other sacrifice if you hunger and thirst for God to possess you, and this is my point. There is time enough for that which matters supremely to us, and there always will be. ~ Sister Wendy Beckett; Sister Wendy on Prayer
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen. ~ Madeleine L'Engle
When the door of the steam bath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts. ~ Diadochus of Photiki, The Philokalia
A word that bears fruit is a word that emerges from the silence and returns to it. It is a word that reminds us of the silence from which it comes and leads us back to that silence. A word not rooted in silence is a weak, powerless word that sounds like a "clashing cymbal or booming gong" (1 Corinthians 13:1). ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart
We have become so contaminated by our wordy world that we hold to the deceptive opinion that our words are more important than our silence. ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart
Where people today commonly
have background music,
monks have background silence
In the monastic tradition there is a basic background of silence: where people today commonly have background music, monks have background silence. ~ Abbot Christopher Jamison, Finding Sanctuary; Monastic Steps for Everyday Life
The power of silence lived in solitude is so real that it can fill all of life for some people. And my belief is not only that it can fill all of life for some people but that it must fill some of life for all people. ~ Abbot Christopher Jamison, Finding Sanctuary; Monastic Steps for Everyday Life
Preaching God implies silence. If preaching is not born of silence, it is a waste of time. Writing and teaching must be fed by silence or they are a waste of time. There are many declarations made only because we think other people are expecting us to make them. The silence of God should teach us when to speak and when not to speak. But we cannot bear the thought of that silence, lest it cost us the trust and respect of men. ~ Thomas Merton; Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and Writer.
If we strive to be happy by filling all the silences of life with sound, productive by turning all life’s leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth. ~ Thomas Merton; No Man is an Island
Silence is the mother of speech. ~ Thomas Merton; No Man is an Island