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In our noisy world, Maria V. Gallagher explores silence as a path to spiritual fulfillment.

For a mother, the idea of silence can seem as probable as gathering up the family for a mission to Mars. 

But hear me out: the book Holy Silence: A Practical Guide to Recollection in God is a gem which is well worth your consideration. 




Author Fr. Basil Nortz does a fantastic job diagnosing one of the giant ills of our age: noisiness. Sounds—many of them quite unpleasant—assault us at every turn. In such a noise-fueled atmosphere, it can be quite difficult to think—let alone communicate with God. 

But Fr. Nortz opens up a pathway by recommending different ways to seek silence—not just silence of words, but also silence of the imagination and of the memory.  

This book provided me with a new perspective about how my general busyness may be interfering with my relationship with the Almighty. It is a work to ponder and to savor, perhaps over a morning coffee or tea or during a visit to the Adoration Chapel. 

I found a section on misuse of memory to be particularly helpful. As Fr. Nortz writes: 

A particular danger in the use of the memory lies in the sentimental attachment that people may have to some idealized time or event of the past. This may be with regard to either our relations to other people or our relations to God and our experience of prayer. Though it is important to be grateful for the past, it is necessary to have our attention fixed upon the manifestation of God’s grace in the present moment. (78)


How often do I overlook the presence of God in the present moment? How many times am I poking around in the drawers of my past, looking for something to give me comfort? I believe that many people in our time spend a great deal of time reflecting on the things that were, rather than the things that are right before their eyes. I am no different in that regard. 

Another eye-opening section deals with “detachment from the pursuit of knowledge.” Fr. Nortz notes: 

Prayer should always be aimed at inflaming the heart with deeper and more dedicated love for God. It is not principally about advancing in theoretical knowledge. (120) 


I have been guilty so many times on focusing too much on what I can learn about God and shortchanging time for actually getting to know Him personally. With Fr. Nortz’s sage advice, I hope to avoid that fault in the future. 

If you long for a deeper connection with Christ, consider inviting Holy Silence into your life. You may be amazed at what spiritual riches the Lord has in store for you!      

Ask for Holy Silence at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Sophia Institute Press.




Copyright 2023 Maria V. Gallagher
Images: Canva
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