Madonna House

The Silence Within

by Catherine Doherty

Deserts, silence, and solitudes are not necessarily places but states of mind and heart. These deserts can be found in the midst of the city, and in every day of our lives. We need only to look for them and realize our tremendous need for them.

They will be small solitudes, little deserts, tiny pools of silence, but the experience they will bring, if we are disposed to enter them, may be as exultant and as holy as all the deserts of the world, even the one God himself entered. For it is God who makes solitudes, deserts, and silences holy.

There is no solitude without silence. True, silence is sometimes the absence of speech, but it is always the act of listening.

The mere absence of noise (which is empty of our listening to the voice of God) is not silence. A day filled with noise and voices can be a day of silence if the noises become for us the echo of the presence of God, if the voices are, for us, messages and solicitations of God.

When we speak of ourselves and are filled with ourselves, we leave silence behind. When we repeat the intimate words of God that he has left within us, our silence remains intact.

Excerpted from Grace in Every Season, (2012), p. 115, April 20, available from MH Publications