The Privilege of Silence


We cannot find God in noise and restlessness.
Look at nature:
the trees, flowers, grasses all grow in silence;
the stars, the moon, the sun all move in silence.
The important thing is not what we are able to say
but what God says to us
and what he speaks to others through us.
In silence he listens to us;
in silence he speaks to our souls;
in silence we are granted the privilege of hearing his voice.
~Mother Teresa from “No Greater Love”


2 thoughts on “The Privilege of Silence

  1. Just thinking….

    As much as I admire Mother Teresa’s difficult but inspiring ministry to the world’s suffering poor, I don’t agree that “we cannot find God in noise and restlessness.” Isn’t that precisely where she encountered God — in the noise and squalor of India’s slums — in the poor, forgotten, souls to whom she ministered? Isn’t that where we need to look to hear God speaking to us? Ask any missionary or anyone who ministers among the poor in the so-called ‘third world’ developing countries if this is not their experience.

    These same souls that Teresa encountered were ( and continue to be in every country) the ‘undesirables,’ the ‘unwashed,’ those considered unfit to mingle within caste or otherwise ‘polite’ societies — the very ones with whom Jesus associated, upon whom He lavished His love and compassion. Isn’t it through their suffering that God speaks to us? We do not need to be a Contemplative or a Mystic to hear that message. We just need to use our God-given senses.

    There is a difference between silence and quietude. Both are essential in our search for communion with God. Complete silence, the ability to shut out the lure and demands of the ‘world,’ in order to enter the inner sanctuary of our souls, seeking an intimate experience of the living God, is very difficult to achieve. It involves letting go, not only of external distractions, but of our self, our ego, that does not capitulate without a fight!

    The result of such an encounter leaves one with a sense of quietude and serenity — both gift and privilege — that are difficult to describe in human terms.


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