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On 10 September 1991, a person called EWTN’s Mother Angelica Live Television Show and requested wisdom so she could feel God’s presence better. She wanted to hear God’s voice and was concerned that she couldn’t feel that He was even there in her life. Sister Angelica responded as follows:

First, let us know that the only way to listen is to shut up!

I don’t want to be abrupt when I say that but in order to listen you have to be quiet. You have to be quiet.

As long as you are talking to God all the time, is wonderful, I recommend talking to God about everything, finding a parking place, you know trying to buy a hat, walking down the street, crossing the street… but anyway we have to listen. You have to listen.

Now the trouble with listening to God is that you get bored.

You sit there and you’re listening and there’s nothing happening; see! You think that there’s nothing happening, but the Lord is saying to you very clearly, “Be quiet.”

Let the silence that you hear, you see sometimes we hear silence and we don’t like what we hear, let the silence of your thought… no thought at all, you’re just listening, let that be the stepping stone to the presence of the Lord.

The presence of the Lord.

That’s what so important. It’s important that we are aware of the presence of the Lord. And if I were to tell everybody now, in this room, and I were to say to everybody, ‘Everybody be quiet. And, I want you to be listening to the awesome silence which is the presence of God!’

You hear that silence. That silence is an awesomeness. It’s not just a lack of noise. It’s not just a lack of movement. I want you to listen for just a half second. Silence!

Isn’t that wonderful! See? That’s the presence of the Lord speaking to your heart. Now, at that point, you respond by saying, ‘I love You, Jesus.’ ‘I love You.’

Start with that. It’s a very basic way to start contemplative prayer. But it’s there.

Here’s the audio and visual link to Mother Angelica’s response.