Sacred Silence: More Than Mere Absence of Sound – by Matthew Leonard

Note from the Chair:

Today’s guest blogger is another good friend, Matt Leonard. Matt is a remarkable young author, speaker, and all-around great guy. He’s the Executive Director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, along with being a husband and father. His rigorous writing and speaking schedule have given rise to rumors that he seldom sleeps, perhaps due to a finely-tuned diet of beer and chocolate – except during Lent. We’re excited to have Matt as our guest blogger today.  

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Thank you for visiting, and enjoy!


In this day and age, we’re conditioned for distraction and noise. Music or chatter greets us at the grocery store, the mall, even the gas station.  You can’t even walk into an elevator without hearing a bad orchestral version of the Backstreet Boys. (Does a good one actually exist?)

Why does society feel the need for constant diversion and noise? Because silence is scary.  In silence we’re confronted with ourselves. It forces us to peer inside and be honest. We’re looking in the mirror.

Silence is also sacred. That’s why most people immediately lower their voices when entering a beautiful church. The knowledge of who dwells there demands awe and reverence, which naturally translates into silence. Even the most beautiful piece of classical music is normally out of place in an adoration chapel.

But silence is something more than no sound. We must quiet our interior selves, too. If you haven’t noticed, our minds love to wander all over the universe even when we’re “quiet.” Distraction from within is just as problematic as exterior disturbance.  That’s why silence must be cultivated in every area of life.

Don’t forget that the sights and sounds we take in are food for the imagination, so it’s vitally important we guard what we allow to enter it. It’s hard enough to focus when innocent distractions abound. It’s downright impossible to move into the presence of God if your mind is picking through the trash you recently dumped in. So don’t forget to take out the garbage, and in the meantime…shhh…keep it down.

Matthew Leonard is an internationally known speaker , Executive Director of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author of “Prayer Works! Getting a Grip on Catholic Spirituality.” You can learn more about him at