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Something that is missing dearly in our modern world is something that we often try to avoid, namely silence. One needs only to look outside and see and hear all the noise around him. Not just in hearing, but in sight too. In this sense, our modern lives are almost solely driven by the senses and their erratic nature. This often makes life difficult to get through and rest, let alone contemplation, are rare sights these days. Precisely for this reason Roman Catholic priest and cardinal Robert Sarah wrote his book The power of silence, drawing our attention to perhaps the foundation for a righteous life. A brilliant showcase on why and how our modern society pursues the emptiness of noise, and why true strength and beauty may only be found in silence. For today’s reading, a look into some beautiful excerpts on the power and beauty of silence.

Silence versus the world’s noise

66. In his Ascetical Homilies, Isaac the Syrian wrote:

Love silence above all things, because it brings you near to fruit that the tongue cannot express. First let us force ourselves to be silent, and then from out of this silence something is born that leads us into silence itself…. If you begin with this discipline, I know not how much light will dawn on you from it…. Great is the man who by the patience of his members achieves wondrous habits in his soul! When you put all the works of this discipline on one side and silence on the other, you will find the latter to be greater in weight.

98. Silence is the prerequisite for love, and it leads to love. Love is expressed fully only by renouncing speech, noise, excitement, and exaltation. its highest expression occurs in a death that is silent and totally offered up, for thee is no greater proof of love than to give your life for those whom you love (Jn 15:13). The silence of love is the outcome and point of arrival of someone who has given priority to silence in his life. It comes like a beautiful reward when man has managed to silence the dislikes, passions, and furors of his heart.

109. The choice of silence is therefore a gift for humanity. The men and women who enter into the silence offer themselves as a holocaust for their brethren. The exterior world is like an overflowing river running down a slope and threatening to smash everything in its path. In order to control this force, it is necessary to build dikes. And silence is this powerful dike that controls the tumultuous waters of the world and protects from noises and distractions of all sorts. Silence is a dam that restores a kind of dignity to mankind. The monasteries and the spiritual masters are dikes that protect humanity from the threats that weigh upon it. How necessary it is for people to imitate them so as to make silence an effective dam!