In my reading of the City of God, I am finding some gems of advice from our Blessed Mother as she speaks to Mary of Agreda.
One of the things I find myself less tolerant of as I grow older is conversation for the sake of talking. My patron saint, Theresa of Avila, was known to not engage in idle conversation; it took me some time to understand this. After all, communication is the basis of human relationships, and if you don't talk to each other it is difficult to build things like trust, understanding, etc. What I think distinguishes idle conversation from that which benefits your soul is explained in this passage from The City of God; remember that throughout the Bible Our Lady didn't speak much, but what wonderful words they were! ( My favourite is from the wedding feast at Cana- " Do as He tells you")
Mary: To speak without moderation and forethought is a two edged sword, which wounds both him that speaks and him that hears, and thus in two ways destroys charity or hinders it in all the virtues. From this thou canst understand, how much God is offended by the vice of inconsiderate and loose talk, and how justly loquacity, and the tumult of disputation estranges His spirit and veils His presence. For, those that talk much cannot keep free from grievous sins (Prov.10. 19).Only with God and His saints can one speak with security, and even then it must be with forethought and discretion. With creatures it is very difficult to preserve the golden middle, without the danger of passing from the correct and necessary, to the imperfect and superfluous.
The way to avoid this danger is to tend continually toward the other extreme, striving rather to reflect and be silent. For the prudent medium of speaking only what is necessary, is found more in reflection than in immoderate speech. Remember, my soul, that thou canst not disport thyself in self-sought conversation with creatures without relinquishing God in the secret interior of thy soul; and that which thou canst not do without impudence and insult in thy intercourse with other creatures, thou shouldst not do in thy dealings with thy Lord and the Lord of all.
The concluding sentence in this chapter is ......"for to those that are alone and in silence does His Majesty speak."
I want to listen to the voice of the Lord in the silence of my heart, and it is in silence that I have found some of the moments when I have felt most in touch with the beauty of God's creation, when I have felt His presence and even His love. It's why I love silent Adoration and Exposition of the Eucharist in our church, and those moments when I am the only one in the church and can sit quietly in His presence.