Presence of God – O Lord, hush all the voices of the world, of creatures, and of self, so that I may listen to no voice but Yours.
Holy Scripture says, “In the multitude of words there shall not want sin. He that hath no guard on his speech shall meet with evils” (Proverbs 10:19; 13:3). The rule of life of a consecrated soul, even if she lives in the world, should always provide for the practice of silence; and if, because of the demands of her duties, it is absolutely impossible for her to observe fixed times of silence, it is indispensable that she hold fast to this principle: to speak as little as possible with creatures in order to be able to speak as much as possible with God. She must, therefore, accustom herself to keeping control over her words, thus avoiding loquaciousness, idle chatter, prolonged conversations, and excessive exchange of confidences. The same norm which governs the use of the senses governs also the use of speech—it is to be used only in the measure required by duty or charity. Of course, it is certainly licit to talk for the purpose of taking some just alleviation or recreation, but always with moderation and within reasonable limits.
However, it is not enough to observe exterior silence; we must also strive for interior silence, that is, silence of the interior senses—the memory, imagination, sensitive feelings, thoughts, recollections of the past and useless conjectures about the future.
“If any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue … this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26), which is to be understood, says St. John of the Cross, “no less of inward speech than of outward” (Precautions [Cautions] 9).
O my God, teach me the secret of the silence which reaches unto interior silence.
I have often had this experience: when I pour myself out on creatures and waste my time in long, useless conversations, my spirit becomes dry, dissipated and empty; and then, if I want to be recollected in prayer, I am unable to silence that little world of impressions, talk, imaginings, and idle thoughts which continually brings me back to creatures.
O Lord, I know that You want greater fidelity to silence and more care to avoid spending myself on creatures. Yes, O God, I will be silent with creatures so that I can hear Your voice which speaks in silence.
“But whenever I dally with my ‘self,’ preoccupied with my sensitiveness; when I pursue useless trains of thought or any sort of useless desire, I am wasting my strength, and my soul is not perfectly ordered toward You, O Lord. My lyre is not in tune, and when You, my divine Master, strike it, You cannot bring forth the divine harmonies. It is still too human and there is discord. If I am keeping anything for myself in my interior kingdom, my powers are not all ‘enclosed’ in You, my God, and I cannot be a perfect praise of glory … because unity does not reign in me, and instead of persevering in praise, in simplicity, no matter what happens, I am continually obliged to tune the strings of my instrument (the powers of my soul), because they are all a little discordant” (Elizabeth of the Trinity Last Retreat 2).
Help me, O Lord, to attain this beautiful interior unity which unites all my faculties in silence in order to concentrate them on You, which makes my soul attentive to every one of Your words, capable of perceiving the slightest inspiration and motion of the Holy Spirit.
“You, O Lord, wakeneth in the morning, in the morning You wakeneth my ear, that I may hear You as a master” (cf. Isaiah 50:4), but Your word is light as a whisper and sounds without noise; a profound silence is necessary, therefore, in order to hear it. O loving Incarnate Word who once, with one movement of Your hand, silenced the winds and calmed the waves on Genesareth, deign to repeat this action in my soul, so that a great calm, a great silence will reign in it.
“O eternal Word, utterance of my God! I long to spend my life in listening to You; to become wholly ‘teachable,’ that I may learn all from You” (Elizabeth of the Trinity Elevation to the Most Holy Trinity).
Note from Dan: This post on interior silence is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on interior silence: Mirror of Portrait visage d’Elisabeth de la Trinité portant son habit de carmélite (Face portrait of Elisabeth of the Trinity in Carmelite habit), Willuconquer, undated, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.