Virtue of Silence

How does one cultivate the virtue of silence? I am too extroverted, bordering on the obnoxious, and constantly need interaction. I go to people with all of my problems, and it isn’t fair on them. How can I become introverted and quiet?

I never like myself after social interaction, because I do not do well with it, but I am addicted to it; how can I limit the amount of time I waste on socializing, and devote more time to productivity or prayer?

You can’t become actually introverted, but you can develop the quality of not being loud, boisterous and obnoxious. This requires mortification. You must work at denying yourself from unnecessary speech and drawing attention to yourself by not speaking unless spoken to, not interrupting people when you speak, and not doing things to make yourself the centre of attention.

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The virtue of silence is not based off of an introverted nature, but the peace of your soul.

If you want to be more quiet, or have a more silent lifestyle. I highly recommend trying a Grand Silence an hour before going to bed. Turn off the TV, computer, games, phone, and music, and just prepare for sleep in a quiet manner. Recollect your thoughts from the day and do Night Prayer (from LOTH). I believe it also helps one sleep better.

I also recommend picking a holy hour in adoration to commit to. One hour of silence a week (or however you choose) can help develop silence in your heart.

Yes silence …

As the Carthusians note in their statutes (not exact quote) - drawing from their Father Saint Bruno (whom I look to as well)- **the fruit that silence brings is known to the person who has experienced it.
“Silence is the environmental condition most conducive to contemplation, to listening to God and to meditation. The very fact of enjoying silence and letting ourselves be “filled”, so to speak, with silence, disposes us to prayer.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI August 2011

A good author for you:

I think you have taken the first step. You recognize and admit to the problem. This tells me you can at least try to “re-train” yourself in terms of your social interactions and practice being silent. Good for you.

Here are some ideas for you to consider:
Before you go to a social event take 15 minutes and pray about the virtue of listening. You like to have others listen to you, they like that too. Tell yourself you will take time to listen to another person and NOT include any comments of your own about the matter like “Oh yea that happened to me too.” Instead listen and ask them to tell you more while while you hear them out. Of course you can tell the person you understand, or give advice if requested, but keep it short and sweet.

Try to mix and mingle and listen to more than one person without loading up on your own views or ideas. Just listen. Believe me people will appreciate it.

Take a little time every day, say when you first get up, and when it is time for bed, and just sit in absolute silence. Don’t ask God for anything, or have the tv and radio going. Just listen to the sounds in the house or outside, and then go on to what you need to do.

Finally, every time you go to say something, stop. Wait a few seconds, even just 10 seconds and ask yourself if it is something that really needs to be said. As I tell so many of my friends and others: God gave us two ears and one mouth. We should listen twice as much as we talk.

It is better to be interested, rather than interesting.

I would recommend some time spent in silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance or hidden in the tabernacle.

When we can be quiet before our God, then our whole world starts to change- most of all, we change!


Also, praying in silent adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Boy have I got a video for you:

“…silence and contemplation have a purpose: they serve, in the distractions of daily life, to preserve permanent union with God. This is their purpose: that union with God may always be present in our souls and may transform our entire being. Silence and contemplation, characteristic of St Bruno, help us find this profound, continuous union with God in the distractions of every day…”

Pope Benedict XVI


Thank you all for your responses!

Set time aside to be alone with our Lord. Go to a park and sit on a bench, knowing that our Lord is with you, and keep Him company, speaking to Him just like you would a friend you can see. If there are traditional chapels near you, visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and pour out your whole heart to Him. You can set time aside every day to be alone with God. It is easy – just find a good spot, turn of your phone, forget about anything distracting and love Him, speaking to Him like He were physically present. He is spiritually present within you when you are in a state of grace. Love Him in your soul and tell Him how much you love Him … speak your heart … and listen. God bless you.

You can’t be somebody you’re not. Extroverts draw their energy from people, while introverts, like myself need quiet solitude in order to be energized. That does not mean that introverts are necessarily shy persons. They just need to get away from crowds.
Instead of withdrawing completely, you may feel more at home with group prayer–recitations of the rosary, guided meditation, novenas, prayer groups. Consider the possibility of making Cursilla, although not necessarily right away.
You state that you have problems being boisterous, and wanting to be the "life of the party."Try some common courtesies in which you allow the other person to speak while you actively listen and join in. Perhaps read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Volunteer at soup kitchen. Put your entroverted self into action as you step out of your comfort zone. Touching and feeding the poor are all forms of prayer, as much as hidiing a closet or sitting along a beach and listening to the ways roll in. As you step out into these volunteer projects, you may find yourself stepping back and basking in what God has accomplished through you.

Definitely something to think about Deb - thank you!

I find that journaling helps me. You can talk as much as you want to the pages of your journal and they never tire of hearing it. Then when you go out and talk to others you can just sit and think, “I can just write down my thought on this later so I don’t really need to say anything right now”. I also find it helps when I write letter’s to God instead of praying, it feels more tangible to me. I guess I’m more tactile but it might help you.

That’s a really good practical tip, thanks!

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