My longing for silence has made this passage from 1st Kings one of my favorites:
(The Lord said): “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Many people in our society do not know how to handle silence, and the prospect of sheer silence can be overwhelming. Contemplative silence, however, can "truly effect a foretaste of heaven" (The Call of Silent Love, p. 10).
Martin Luther did not think much of the monastic practice of silence: "Away, therefore, with the silly and silent monks who suppose that worship and saintliness consist in silence!" (Luther's Works Vol. 3, p. 200). Contrary to Luther, I think that worship can be done beautifully in silence. There is a scene from the movie "Into Great Silence" which illustrates the beauty of silence, as the silence of the cloister is so intense that you can hear the snow fall, and is only interruped by the occasional ringing of the bell:
In "The Call of Silent Love" it is written that Carthusian "piety was fed by the common resources of the Church: the liturgy, the sacraments, the Word of God, Christ. Their silence was not mute but resounded with celebration and the praise of God." (pp. 7-8).