silence (n): the absence of sound or noise
I never thought before about the distinction between sound and noise. Sound, the dictionary says, is anything perceived by the sense of hearing, while noise denotes an unpleasant sound.
We can, if we try hard enough, find places of temporary escape from noise, but it’s virtually impossible to go anywhere completely devoid of sound. Even as I write this in the sanctuary of my study, I hear the hum of the computer, the clicking of the keys as I type, the dull roar of a lawnmower a couple houses down, the varied sounds of cars and trucks on the street below and an airplane overhead.
Absolute physical silence may be an unattainable quality for most of us, but sometimes, through an alignment of long practice of prayer and sheer grace, we are blessed to find a spiritual inner silence that calms and sustains us.
“Silence is that moment in which we not only stop the
discussion with others but also the inner discussions
with ourselves, in which we can breathe freely and
accept our identity as a gift…It is in this silence that
the Spirt of God can pray in us and continue its
creative work in us…” ~ Henri Nouwen
“At the extremity of prayer words vanish, or rather the
silence-become-word surpasses all that can be uttered.
Prayer becomes the silence of Love…” ~ A.I. Okumura