Pope: in relentless din of global communication, silence allows space for God
'"Silence and the Word: path of evangelization," the theme of the 46th World Day of Social Communications. Today " people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware". Silence helps us to "recognize and focus on the really important questions." These include the " the ultimate questions of human existence." "Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. "
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In the world of communication, " people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware." Hence the need to give space also to silence, "that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive " and to allow "others" to speak and therefore achieve a more complete communication. These are the basic considerations that Benedict XVI expressed in his message by elaborating on the theme of the 46th World Communications Day - which this year is celebrated Sunday, May 20 - "Silence and the Word: path of evangelization," released today. In the document, the Pope’s considerations are related to the fundamental fact that solitude and silence are "privileged spaces to help people to find themselves and that truth which gives meaning to all things. The God of biblical revelation speaks without words. "
Silence and the Word, writes Benedict XVI are ": two aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive, communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning. Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible". In silence we see "the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. Joy, anxiety, and suffering can all be communicated in silence – indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression. "
" When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary." " For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds." This makes sense especially in today's dynamic communications " largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. In our time, the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive. "
"Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue, by means of words and interchange, but also through the call to silent reflection, something that is often more eloquent than a hasty answer and permits seekers to reach into the depths of their being and open themselves to the path towards knowledge that God has inscribed in human hearts. Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning exchange of skeptical opinions and experiences of life – all of us are in search of truth and we share this profound yearning today more than ever. "
"Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives. "
And "as shown in the cross of Christ, God also speaks through His silence." " The eloquence of God’s love, lived to the point of the supreme gift speaks in the silence of the Cross."
" If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God." " We need that silence which becomes contemplation." "Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation “to communicate that which we have seen and heard” so that all may be in communion with God (1 Jn 1:3). Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbours so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love. "
"Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelization: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church’s work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today’s world. "