In my years of experience as a catechist, I have always sought to provide those I teach with experiences of silence which, according to St. John of the Cross, and, more recently, Fr. Thomas Keating, is God’s “primary language.” At first, the young people are often uncomfortable with silence, because they experience so little of it in our society. Gradually, however, with some coaching, they can learn to view silence, not just as empty space, but as an experience of depth, filled with richness and abundant grace or, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once said, “a silence with content.”
In my book, A Church on the Move: 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion, I say the following about silence:
Silence increases our self-awareness, has a cleansing effect, heightens our other senses, and helps us to solidify our intentions and motivation before taking action. Silence also has the strange and wonderful ability to unite people. Silence is dramatic and powerful: it amplifies the profundity of an experience. It is the most appropriate response to that which is beyond our ability to fully understand.
With this as a backdrop, I was thrilled recently to see a new book as part of our Loyola Press lineup: Shhh…God Is in the Silence by Fiona Basile. Through the gentle repetition of simple yet profound truths, this book will help children realize that silence is itself a form of prayer—the part of the prayer conversation when we quiet our minds to listen to God in our hearts. I highly recommend this beautiful new book, which comes with a lot of “extras” by way of downloadable activities!