The Healing Balm of Silence

In the third edition of “Behind the Desk” Sr. Veronica Miller discusses the healing we can find in the silence.


Sr. Veronica Marie Miller

Have you noticed just how much we are bombarded with noise?  I went to a physical therapy place the other day; the television was on although no one was really watching and music was playing piped in through the speakers.  Endless stimulation. Is this what one calls a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere?  As I waited, I felt myself becoming interiorly agitated. 

With all this constant noisy activity, it’s a small wonder that we are able to think clearly at all.  Should we be surprised that we suffer from stress and anxiety if we never have even one moment of quiet?  Exterior silence aids to foster interior silence. 

The quiet, the stillness, the silence is necessary not only for our physical well-being but maybe more importantly our psychological, emotional, and spiritual health.  Nature can teach us this lesson.  Notice how the grass, the flowers, the trees grow.  They grow in silence; they do not make noise.  The sun rises and sets in silence.  There is order, a calming, soothing order in the silence of nature which has a healing effect on us as it helps restore the calm and order within us.

(An interesting fun fact:  experiments done with plants show that certain stimuli, like music, affected their growth.  Playing loud abrasive music actually harmed the plants, causing them to wither.)

 We all yearn for the peace that surpasses all understanding, the calm and order that is only possible when we are quiet…still…silent.  To do this means we must seek out opportunities or even create ways for silence.  The following are only some suggestions. 

Do one (or more) of these at least once a day.

  • Make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and let His Silence embrace you.  Just sit quietly for a short time, opening your heart to His Love.
  • Go outdoors and “breathe” in nature.  Marvel at the formation of the clouds; see the strength of the trees; feel the breeze or wind on your face; be warmed by the rays of the sun; wonder at the rising and setting of the sun.  Every moment is a masterpiece never to be repeated!
  • Find a place where external noise is at a minimum or better yet, completely absent.  Read a passage from Scripture or a saint and let it quietly penetrate your mind and heart.
  • Go into your room, shut the door and imagine Jesus with you (He really is, you know).  Have a heart to heart conversation with your Lord and Savior.

The key in anything we might do is to be silent, calm, quiet for at least five minutes or more.

When we stop the revolving door of our mind, when we stop our running around, when we stop and allow ourselves to be quiet, then we give ourselves an opportunity to listen to God as He speaks to us in the silence of our hearts.