Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: James McCaffrey, OCD, on silence

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God” the psalmist sings. But they do so without the noise of words: “No speech, no word, no voice is heard;” yet “their words go forth to the utmost bounds of the world.”

A rainbow arches across the skies, quietly proclaiming the lesson of God's covenant with Noah. Still waters run deep, like the life-giving spring that gushed for Moses from a desert rock.

The smooth rhythm of nature's unending cycle silently foreshadows the mystery of death that leads to life: “Winter is now past ... The flowers appear on the earth ... The fig tree is forming its first figs ... and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance.”

Wisdom enters the human heart without noise or turmoil: “When peaceful silence lay over all ... down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word.”

James McCaffrey OCD is a prior of the Carmelite community, Oxford, and director of its retreat center, with years of experience lecturing and writing on scripture and spirituality internationally. Learn more here.   

What images or experiences in nature, in movement, in study, in daily life celebrate for you the value of and need for silence? Do these images help you cultivate the silence you need to nourish your spiritual life?

Please share your reflections with us here.


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