Henri Nouwen (1932 - 1996) was an internationally renowned priest and author of more than 40 books on the spiritual life. In this slender volume, he talks with Philip Roderick, an Anglican priest, about the gifts of silence and solitude in the life of a Christian. He begins by making a distinction between solitude and loneliness:

"Solitude is a discipline in which you deal with your loneliness in such a way that it doesn't destroy you or others; instead it becomes a place to discover the truth of who you are. You are created by a God who wants all your attention and who wants to give you all the love you need."

Nouwen is critical of the cult of busyness and makes it clear that everyone should find more time to be of service, such as visiting the sick or praying for others. He states that the Christian community is "a community of people who remind each other who they truly are — the beloved of God."

Silence is very special: it is a place and a space for renewal. Words stop in silence and we can contemplate the mysteries of God and existence. A time of peace and quiet is essential for prayer. The accompanying CD of Nouwen's talk gives you a chance to go deeper.