The chief function of monastic silence is then to preserve that memoria Dei which is much more than just "memory." It is a total consciousness and awareness of God which is impossible without silence, recollection, solitude and certain withdrawal... In the last resort, monastic silence is not just a practice, it is a grace, a gift of God. Those who desire this great gift may have to recognize their natural incapacity to gain it by any effort of their own and must humbly pray for it.
Lines by Thomas Merton.