Our Need for Silence

I often have people say to me that they pray in the midst of their activities – while driving in the car, in the midst of chores, etc. This is a good thing, and is certainly consistent with St. Paul’s admonition that we pray unceasingly.

But the kind of praying that we do as we go about our daily tasks is no substitute for taking some quiet time with God each day, time in which we are focused on nothing else but God. For some that time is morning or evening; others manage to find ways to take a break in the middle of their day. (My friend and colleague Jennifer closes her office door at noon every day, putting out a “do not disturb” sign and does her Centering Prayer.) It doesn’t matter when it occurs, but it does matter that it occurs.

In Love and Living, Thomas Merton wrote: “Silence helps draw together the scattered and dissipated energies of a fragmented existence. It helps us to concentrate on a purpose that really corresponds not only to the deeper needs of our own being but also to God’s intentions for us.”

We need that silence. We need the space that silence gives us. Space to see connections. Space to process. Space for us to see more clearly and to hear more clearly. Give yourself that space. Give yourself that silence.