Friday, May 5, 2017

The Power of Silence (Ignatius Press)

I read a lot of books each year. Unfortunately, most of them blend together and don't have a chance to shine. Every now and then, one book stands out above the rest. In 2015, that was God or Nothing, which was a recorded conversation by Cardinal Robert Sarah and Nicholas Diat. This book was not only a beautiful exposition of faith, but it also introduced me to an important and brilliant man in the Catholic Church, I might never have heard of otherwise. Now, in 2017, there has been a second book released by these two people again, this time speaking on the subject of silence and noise. It is entitled The Power of Silence, and it too is published by Ignatius Press. The book is divided into five parts:

1. Silence versus the World's Noise
2. God Does Not Speak, but His Voice is Quite Clear
3. Silence, the Mystery, and the Sacred
4. God's Silence in the Face of Evil Unheard
5. Live a Voice Crying out in the Desert: The Meeting at the Grande Chartreuse

The first four sections is a dialogue between Nicholas Diat and Robert Cardinal Sarah. The fifth section brings a third person into the mix, Dysmas de Lassus, who is Prior General of the Carthusians. I'm not sure if it's by design or a happy coincidence, but the four parts are broken down into 365 lines, and sometimes paragraphs. This means that you could take one each day of the year and slowly work your way through the book. That is hard for someone like me to do, as I am not a "daily devotional" type of person, and I would rather read the book in one or two sittings, but I highly recommend taking your time with this book. For starters, the subject matter lends itself is on slowing down and being silent, and for another thing, you will miss so much if you read too quickly. I have already re-visited this book a few times to re-read certain points.

Silence and noise are two things I really struggle with, and I imagine that is true for all people, especially my generation and the generations after that who rely so heavily on technology. We need to learn to walk away from the noise and not be so dependent upon it. By doing this we will embrace silence and not be scared of it. This is the only way we will be able to experience God and grow closer to Him. This is an amazing and life-changing book that every Christian needs to read. Cardinal Robert Sarah pulls so much wisdom from Scripture, the Church Fathers, other saints, and even Pope Benedict XVI. There are so many great pieces of wisdom to ponder on that I would like to leave you with one, where he quotes from St. Isaac the Syrian:

Love silence above all things, because it brings you near to fruit the tongue cannot express. First let us force ourselves to be silent and then from out of this silence something is born that leads us into silence itself.... If you begin with this discipline, I know not how much light will dawn on you from it.... Great is the man who by the patience of his members achieves wondrous habits in his soul! When you put all the works of this discipline on one side and silence on the other, you will find the latter to be greater in weight.

This book was provided to me for free by Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review.