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Silence is essential for contemplative prayer

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/03/24

If you want to fully engage in contemplative prayer, you will need to find silence, both exterior and interior.

Prayer doesn’t always have to be silent. In fact, most prayer is often quite loud, such as prayer at Mass, or when praying in common with other people.

However, if you want to fully engage in contemplative prayer, you will need to make time for silent prayer.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms this essential part of contemplative prayer, “Contemplative prayer is silence, the ‘symbol of the world to come'” (CCC 2717).

The Catechism further links silent prayer with a prayer of love:

“[S]ilent love.” Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the ‘outer’ man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.

CCC 2717

This type of prayer can often be the most difficult, as it requires us to find a place where there are few distractions and little audible noise.

Sometimes our house can be silent, but many times we can only find silence by going to an adoration chapel or an empty church.

We also need to prepare our heart for silence by trying to still the barrage of thoughts that race through our minds.

For many of us, we will not be able to silence our interior thoughts, especially the first time we engage in contemplative prayer.

The key is to not give up and to offer up our time of prayer to God, seeking to hear his voice in the noise of our hearts.

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BibleCCC PrayerPrayer
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