THE RULE OF SILENCE 

In order to receive the graces of the days of the Exercises, silence both interior and exterior is necessary. That is why Manresa insists on the rule of silence. 

Silence is cherished by the Men of Manresa because it brings a welcome, smoothing relief from the stresses and strains of public life. Its therapeutic value gradually reveals itself in deep tranquility where I may hear the God’s word. Silence is not a penance nor is it something I do for God, but it is something I can do for myself so that I may be present to God who is always present to me.  

Silence is the servant of the retreat. It enables us to make contact with our innermost self and thus satisfy our anxious quest for self-intently.  It also enables us to explore more deeply the purpose of life and examine more closely our fundamental orientations and to tap deep resources of human power, which each one has, but seldom uses.  

The Christian is not only a “man for others”, he must also be “his own man” and “ a man of God”.  To maintain this balance he must have time for solitude as well as time for community, time for withdrawal as well as time for involvement. Too much community depersonalizes; too much solitude leads to sterile loneliness.  

Most important of all, silence is necessary for prayer. Its provides the climate of interior stillness in which God’s voice can be heard. Abstaining from dialogue with others unleashes the easy, spontaneous communication with God, which is prayer. Small wonder that at Manresa, “Silence is the Golden Rule”.