Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: The Power of Silence

I told the local book store to throw all their other books away; this is the only one they need.
I am greatly blessed.  Over the years, I’ve read many thousands of books which have chiseled my heart, forming solid niches of learning of this thing or that, making my heart, I pray, somewhat as He designed it to be.  But all those books together, even the best of them, fail to summarize the total truth of the matter as this book does:  there are no words.
Cardinal Sarah explains the peace of silence found in beauty, in nature, in the chapel, or even in Gregorian chant.  He explains the “I” in Ipad: the noise and unrest found in the Ipad, Iphone or any other “I” forms, focused on the self.  Peace is found in love and loving actions to the Grand Other, in all His forms in heaven or on earth, and in the silence of a loving heart.
This is one of the better books of the decade.
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Some quotes say this better than I ever could:
-          The young priest met Mother Teresa, who asked him how much he prayed.  He responded he prayed the required prayers each day, but he said he had expected her to ask: “What acts of charity do you do?”  And “she responded in a stern tone of voice: ‘Do you think I could practice charity if I did not ask Jesus every day to fill my heart with His love? … Read the Gospel attentively, and you will see Jesus sacrificed even charity for prayer.  And do you know why?  To teach us that without God, we are too poor to help the poor.’”

-          “Jesus Himself points out to men the beautiful places of solitude and silence.” … And, “there are the houses of God that are our churches, if the priests and the faithful take care to respect their sacred character, so that they do not become museums, theaters, or concert halls, but remain places reserved for prayer and God alone!”

-          “Without silence, God disappears in the noise.  And this noise becomes all the more obsessive because God is absent.  Unless the world rediscovers silence, it is lost.”

-          A chapter in the book is titled: “God Does Not Speak, But His Voice Is Quite Clear.”

-          “How I would love it if Christians, in the liturgy, could experience the power of silence.”

-          “This pathological fear of suffering and silence is particularly acute in the West.  On the other hand, African and Asian churches manifest a remarkable acceptance of pain, sickness, and death, because the prospect of a better life in the next world is profoundly present in them.”

-          Q: “In Iraq and Syria, children are mutilated, violated, sold, reduced to slavery, crucified, and God does not say a word?  The Islamic State’s policy of extermination is unleashed against the Christians of the Near East, and the God of Love seems absent?”
A: “May I first broaden the question?  The current genocide of babies with Down Syndrome in the West is no less tragic, and I am not sure that it is less barbaric; it is only less visible.”
There are so many words in this book which touched my heart.  “In killing silence, man assassinates God.” … “Developing a taste for prayer is probably the first and foremost battle of our age.”  

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