Jean-Nicholas Grou was a Jesuit priest in Paris at the time of the French Revolution in 1789. He was forced to escape to England, where he remained for the rest of his life. Despite the tumultuousness of his time, he insisted that practices of silent prayer were indispensable to spiritual growth. “In these moments of silence and peace when [a soul] pays no heed to what is happening within itself, it prays and prays excellently, with a simple and direct prayer that God will understand perfectly by the action of grace. … This is what is called the prayer of silence, or of quiet, or of bare faith” (Jean-Nicholas Grou, “Excerpts from How to Pray,” in Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, ed. Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith [San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993], 140–41). With voices around us silenced, we can listen most intently to God.
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