The Language of Silence
Silence, even naturally speaking, invites us to concentrate and think about serious, profound things. For example, when we are in the midst of a forest, or on the ocean, or in a deserted place, we feel the need to concentrate and recollect ourselves. Due to our psychological structure, noise forces us outside of ourselves, distracting us and scattering our powers. It forces our spirit to skip around through external things. But when silence prevails, we can again concentrate and live within.
In accordance with this law of our psychology, we need to live within to live with God, because we always find God in the interior of our soul. It is natural that exterior silence is not only an invitation to an interior life, but a necessary condition for that life of intimate communication with God. The atmosphere of the interior life, of the contemplative life, is silence. Hence, the masters of the spiritual life recommend it so highly.…
In order to live the contemplative life, or the religious life in any of its forms, exterior silence is indispensable. This is true for all true interior life. We must realize its importance in living above and not below, in living a life of intimacy and union with God. Let us not forget that silence should not be treated as a mere constraint or as a means of order like those used in a school or in a class, but as a necessary condition for living within and not living without.…
The contemplative life is an intimate affair. It is a loving conversation of a person with God. But in order that God may speak to the soul, and the soul speak with God, silence is necessary. Neither God nor our hearts will be silent, but the earth and created things must be hushed because everything worldly hinders the intimate conversation of our souls with God.
This silence is not the silence of the desert nor of the tomb—a negative silence, the lack or suspension of life. It is like the apparel of a more interior life that one wears outside because inside he is singing a love song. He does not speak with creatures, because he is speaking with God; he does not listen to the noise of earth, so that he may hear the harmonies of heaven.
As an audience maintains silence to hear better the voice of an orator, as music lovers keep silence during a symphony to admire its artistic beauty, so the silence of contemplation is nothing other than the indispensable condition for hearing the voice of God and speaking to him with heartfelt words.…
… [W]hen we see a splendid spectacle of nature, we are silent. Ordinary sights, on the contrary, make us talk and we casually comment on them. But we fall silent before something sublime. Therefore, admiration, sorrow, love, all the great sentiments of our heart, all the deep impressions of our soul are like this: when imperfect and limited they can be expressed with human speech. But when they increase and reach their peak, they cannot be expressed by weak words. Their only language is silence.
In heaven, love is not expressed in this way because another language exists there, a language not of this earth. Here below the greatest love is silent love. Such is the love of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Happy are we if we love Jesus with that sublime silence! Many a time our love speaks, our love sings, our love expresses itself in various ways. But when love increases in our hearts, it tends to become silent. That is when it has reached maturity. It has become so intense and so deep that it cannot be expressed with our dull human language.
Martinez, L. (2011). Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez. (G. Santos, Ed.) (pp. 7–10). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.