Silence reveals itself

South central Nebraska sky near dusk. Credit: Me

South central Nebraska sky near dusk. Credit: Me

Silence reveals itself in a thousand inexpressible forms: in the quiet of dawn, in the noiseless aspiration of trees toward the sky, in the stealthy descent of night, in the silent changing of the seasons, in the falling moonlight, trickling down into the night like a rain of silence, but above all in the silence of the inward soul,—all these forms of silence are nameless: all the clearer and surer is the word that arises out of and in contrast to the nameless silence. – Max Picard, The World of Silence


I picked up this book from Eighth Day Books after reading some quotes from it in a recent article by Anthony Esolen. I’m only a few chapters into the book but have already underlined much. This is the first of many quotes I’ve pulled from its pages. I really like the imagery it invokes, especially with regards to its scenes from nature. As much as I enjoy rising early to sit on my backyard patio with coffee and my breviary or other devotional, it almost never fails that someone in the neighborhood will choose that time to mow their grass or trim their edging. Or a motorcycle, semi or ambulance wails in the distance. That’s the city. And that’s why I cherish my silent retreats taken every other autumn at Broom Tree.

But I’ve learned over the years that it is truly the silence of the inward soul that counts the most. It is possible to achieve even amidst the noise of the city. It just takes time spent with the Word.


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