“Our world no longer hears God because it is constantly speaking at a devastating speed and volume, in order to say nothing. Modern civilization does not know how to be quiet. It holds forth in an unending monologue. Postmodern society rejects the past and looks at the present as a cheap consumer object; it pictures the future in terms of an almost obsessive progress. Its dream, which has become a sad reality, will have been to lock silence away in a damp, dark dungeon. Thus there is a dictatorship of speech, a dictatorship of verbal emphasis. In this theater of shadows, nothing is left but a purulent wound of mechanical words, without perspective, without truth, and without foundation. Quite often “truth” is nothing more than the pure and misleading creation of the media, corroborated by fabricated images and testimonies. When that happens, the word of God fades away, inaccessible and inaudible. Post-modernity is an ongoing offense and aggression against the divine silence. From morning to evening, from evening to morning, silence no longer has any place at all; the noise tries to prevent God himself from speaking. In this hell of noise, man disintegrates and is lost; he is broken up into countless worries, fantasies, and fears. In order to get out of these depressing tunnels, he desperately awaits noise so that it will bring him a few consolations. Noise is a deceptive, addictive and false tranquilizer. The tragedy of our world is never better summed up than in the fury of senseless noise that stubbornly hates silence. This age detest the things that silence brings us to: encounter, wonder and kneeling before God! Contemplative silence is a fragile little flame in the middle of a raging ocean! Too few are willing to confront God in silence, by coming to be burned in that great face-to-face encounter.”
Cardinal Sarah: “In my thirst to see God and to hear him, I often happened to experience the solitude and the silence of the desert. The desert is the place of hunger, thirst and the spiritual combat. It is vitally important to withdraw to the desert in order to combat the dictatorship of a world filled with idols that gorge themselves on technology and material goods, a world dominated and manipulated by the media, a world that flees God by taking refuge in noise. It is necessary to help this modern world to have the experience of the desert. There, we get some distance from everyday events. We can flee the noise and the superficiality. The desert is the place of the Absolute, the place of freedom. The desert preserves us from the multiplicity of idols that men make for themselves. In this sense, the desert is the domain of grace. Far from preoccupations, man encounters there his Creator and his God!”
“Great things begin in the desert, in silence, in poverty, in abandonment. Look at Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist and Our Lord Jesus himself. The desert is where God leads us in order to speak to us in a heart-to-heart conversation. But the desert is not only the place where men can experience the physical test of hunger, thirst and total destitution. It is also the land of temptation, where satan’s power is manifested. The devil often leads us there to hold out to us the prospect of all the world’s splendors, comforts and to persuade us that we would be wrong to give them up. By going into the desert, Our Lord Jesus exposed Himself to satan’s seductive power and He firmly opposed it, not content to descend into the deep waters of the Jordan. Christ descends also to the very depths of human misery, to the regions of broken hearts and ruined relationships, to the most depraved carnal dictatorships and the desolate places of a world marred by sin. The desert teaches us to fight against evil and all our evil inclinations so as to regain our dignity as children of God. It is impossible to enter into the mystery of God without entering into the solitude and silence of our interior desert”.
Contemplative silence is a silence of adoration and listening by a person who stands in the presence of God. To stand silently in God’s presence is to pray. Prayer demands that we successfully keep quiet so as to hear and listen to God. Carthusian Dom Augustin Guillerand writes: “The words we do not say become prayers. That is our strength, and we can do some good only by this great method of silence. We speak to God about those to whom we do not speak. It is necessary to look real life in the face. This profound, prolonged look is what God will give us, for God is at the basis of everything. This love is what we seek. This is where God calls us.”
“Our Lord Jesus Himself points out to men the beautiful dwelling places of solitude and silence. the privacy of our room when we have closed the doors to be alone, in the secrecy of an intimate conversation with God. There is also the chiaroscuro of a chapel, a place of solitude, silence and intimacy, where the Presence of all presences awaits us; Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. There are also Shrines, Holy Places and Monasteries that have been established to enable us to devote a few days to the Lord. Finally, there are the houses of God that are our Churches, if the priest and the faithful take care to respect their Sacred character, so that they do not become museums, theaters or concert halls, but remain places reserved for pray and God alone.”