The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise
by Cardinal Robert Sarah (Author), Nicolas Diat (Contributor)
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Ignatius Press; 1st edition (April 15, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1621641919


First comments in a new afterword by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (I added the bolding).

In a time when there is more and more noise, and technology and materialism continue to exert their hold on us, Cardinal Robert Sarah presents a bold book about the strength of silence. The world generates so much noise that seeking moments of silence only becomes more necessary. For Cardinal Sarah, modern man, in repressing the divine, finds himself in a deep dilemma, an oppressive and anguishing trial. The Cardinal recalls that life is a silent relationship between what is most intimate in man and God. Silence is indispensable for hearing the music of God: prayer arises from silence and returns to silence with ever greater depth.

In this long and profound conversation with Nicolas Diat, done within the hallowed walls of silence in the famous Carthusian monastery of La Grande Chartreux in France, the Cardinal proposes the question: can those who do not know silence ever attain truth, beauty, love? The response is undeniable: all that is great and creative is formed by silence. God is silence.

In this book, Cardinal Sarah has only one aim, which is summed up in this thought from his book: “Silence is difficult but it makes a human being able to allow himself to be led by God. Silence is born of silence. Through God the silent one we can gain access to silence. And a human being is unceasingly surprised by the light that bursts forth then. Silence is more important than any other human work. For it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and others so as to place ourselves humbly and generously at their service.”


My comments:
I have been reading this book for about two years, and it has improved my prayer. The book reads like a long interview, and the result is a book/list of 365 points that will help anyone fight against the noise in our lives. Cardinal Sarah is writing as a Spiritual Director in this book, and for me, his advice needed time to fully soak in. I am sure some people would be able to read it straight through in a month. Each of us, however, will respond to the Cardinal’s spiritual direction in our own time and our own way. Because changing our lives can be difficult, and the noise in our society is never-ending.

Most all of us have been damaged, conditioned in a bad way, by all the noise in our lives. Two of the main causes are: people trying to sell us stuff (so that they make money), or get us to think the way they do (think politics). This noise comes in many ways: the internet, TV, movies, radio, smartphones and plain phones, newspapers, and even the daily mail.

It will take time to undo the damage caused by the noise in our society. Reading this book and applying its teachings in our daily lives will help with the healing. Why? Because in silence our prayer life will improve and the deepening relationship with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) will heal us.

About a month ago started praying the Angelus. It is a prayer I have known about for a long time, just for some unknown reason, I never prayed it. I found a smartphone app that makes praying it convenient by alerting me when to pray. The App is from the company that publishes The Magnificat.
Get the app here:
After installing go to the settings and choose one or more of the three times: Morning, Noon or Evening. I recommend starting with just one time and committing to that time.

I chose Noon, so every day these glorious church bells ring on my phone (yes, when I am at work) and call me to prayer. The Angelus is short and simple, and yet profound. It has the ability to move the soul that is receptive to the grace that is given in this prayer. For the Angelus is about the Incarnation of Jesus, and how Jesus did not just come to earth 2000 years ago, be He (Jesus) comes to us whenever we think about Him. That is what all prayer is about, living a relationship with Jesus, (and through Jesus, The Father and Holy Spirit).

Two of the most important things about this prayer for me are 1)the rhythm it puts into my day and week and 2) that I receive so much more from the prayer than the 90 seconds I put into it.


Genesis 1:3 And God said: “Let there be light”; and there was light.

First, a quick study of this verse from The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Genesis page 17
According to the NT, the creative word is not simply a power but a Person—God the Son, through whom all things were made (John 1:1–3; Hebrews 1:2; CCC 291).
• One who pays close attention will recognize the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in the beginning. The Father creates heaven and earth, the Spirit moves over the waters, and the Son, who acts while the Father is speaking, separates the light from the darkness (St. Ambrose, The Holy Spirit 2, 1).

Now, how to memorize this. Split it into two easy parts:

  1. And God said: “Let there be light”,
  2. and there was light.

Finally, contemplate that everything has been created by God (except for Himself).


But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.   (John 19:34)

“Why was He wounded on the side near His Heart?
In order that we may never tire of contemplating His Heart.”

“By the blood of His side and of His heart, our Lord watered the garden of the Church, for with His blood He made the sacraments flow from His heart.”

My Notes: The quotes are from St. Albert the Great – A Dominican, who died in 1280
“On the Gospel of John”, “On the Eucharist” and “On the Sacrifice of the Mass”.

A Disciples Prayer
Jesus, you are my teacher, I am your disciple.
May I be your eyes, your ears, your voice.
May I be your feet, your hands, your heart.

I recently finished teaching a Bible study on the Gospel of St. Mark, and the above prayer came from that class.

In St. Mark’s Gospel we read about Jesus doing many things. Some of the most prominent actions of Jesus are healing the sick, exorcising demons, and teaching. His teaching is not only for the twelve apostles, but also for His seventy disciples, and the crowds. A disciple is a special type of student because a disciple not only learns from an educational point of view but more importantly the disciple wants to become like the teacher in thought, in word (speech) and in deeds (actions).

The Catholic Bible Dictionary (Scott Hahn, Editor) defines a disciple as: “A student or follower who emulates the example set by a master and seeks to identify with the master’s teachings. … It was not merely a matter of listening to the teachings and learning wisdom: it was a commitment to a new way of life modeled by Jesus. The disciple must “take up his cross” and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 14:27).”

…Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:21)

For many people prayer is a difficult subject, not only a hard thing to talk about but even to do. Prayer is supposed to be easy, and even simple. Prayer is the essence of our relationship with the God who created us. So for those who are having difficulty in prayer, I offer some help, some really simple help, and that is to start with a simple prayer: “To Christ be glory forever.” This verse comes at the end of the letter to the Hebrews and is in the section called the “Benediction” It is the author’s way of concluding the letter by praying for the Hebrews (and for us) by giving us a blessing.

So how can we use this prayer “To Christ be glory forever.”? We can use is any time and any place.  It is easy to repeat throughout the day. For it is short enough to memorize with little effort. It is also worth noting that even though this is a very simple prayer is also profound. As well as being a prayer/action that we will be doing for all eternity, giving glory to God.

Please pray with me for the Church. The Catholic Church is in special need of God’s grace now, so we must pray for this. With all that has been recently revealed about the sin of some Priests, Bishops and Deacons of the church, we need to pray that Jesus will purify His church (note: the church belongs to Jesus).

We can also pray that those members of the church who have committed crimes against humanity, will be arrested, tried in a court of law, and if found guilty, will be sent to jail.

To try and understand all this we start with the question: Why is the Church holy? For the answer, we turn to St. Augustine and his answer (from about the year 400, I am sorry I do not have a reference) “The church is holy because of it’s mission, not because of its people”. So some 1600 years ago the issue of sin in the church caused St. Augustine to teach about the holiness of the church. The next thing we need to understand is what the mission of the church is. The mission of the church is to bring all humanity to heaven (an eternity with God). Helping to bring all humanity to heaven is a huge responsibility, and so we need to pray…

Christ lived for thirty years in silence, Then, during his public life, he withdrew to the desert to listen to and speak with his Father. The world vitally needs to go off into the desert. Because God speaks in silence.

The Power of Silence – Against the Dictatorship of Noise (Thought #41, page 42)
by Cardinal Robert Sarah – Ignatius Press 2017

My notes: It is thought by Bible scholars that Jesus lived 33 years on earth, with the last three being His public ministry. So Jesus lived 30 years of quiet and 3 years of non-quiet, a 10 to 1 ratio. We would be fortunate to live a life of 10% quiet/silence.

Through Sacred Scripture, when it is listened to and meditated upon in silence, divine graces are poured out on man. It is in faith, and not by traveling in distant lands or by crossing seas and continents, that we can find and contemplate God. …

Unless silence dwells in man, and unless solitude is a state in which he allows himself to be shaped, the creature is deprived of God. There is no place on earth where God is more present than in the human heart. This heart truly is God’s abode, the temple of silence.

The Power of Silence – Against the Dictatorship of Noise (#4, page 23)
by Cardinal Robert Sarah – Ignatius Press 2017

God’s silence is a consuming fire for the man who approaches him. Through this divine silence, man becomes a bit estranged from this world. He is separated from this earth and from himself. Silence impels us toward an unknown land that is God. And this land becomes our true homeland. Through silence, we return to our heavenly origin, where there is nothing but calm, peace, repose, silent contemplation, and adoration of the radiant face of God.


The Power of Silence – Against the Dictatorship of Noise    (#70, page 54)
by Cardinal Robert Sarah – Ignatius Press 2017