|St Anne inviting us to be silent (as found at Reluctant Sinner).|
Silence is very difficult to achieve in our day. Last week much of Gwinn, MI, experienced a power outage following 70+ mph winds which brought trees down over power lines, resulting in loss of power. The lack of electricity certainly was not without its inconveniences: no hot water, no lighting, no possibility of cooking, loss of food in the freezer, etc. But one blessing it did bring was silence: no radio, no TV, no internet... just the possibility of reading by candle light (or kindle-light!) and working quietly during the day. One was able to listen more to one's thoughts and the voice of nature.
Pope Benedict has chosen a very important theme concerning communication. Communication is thought to be all about words. But how important silence is too.
The Vatican's news release on the subject states:
The extraordinarily varied nature of the contribution of modern communications to society highlights the need for a value which, on first consideration, might seem to stand in contradistinction to it. Silence, in fact, is the central theme for the next World Communications Day Message: 'Silence and Word: path of evangelisation'. In the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, silence is not presented simply as an antidote to the constant and unstoppable flow of information that characterises society today but rather as a factor that is necessary for its integration. Silence, precisely because it favours habits of discernment and reflection, can in fact be seen primarily as a means of welcoming the word. We ought not to think in terms of a dualism, but of the complementary nature of two elements which when they are held in balance serve to enrich the value of communication and which make it a key factor that can serve the new evangelisation. It is clearly the desire of the Holy Father to associate the theme of the next World Communications Day with the celebration of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops which will have as its own theme: 'The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith'.How quickly people react to sound bites. The Pope himself has experienced misunderstanding of statements he has made, the result of a lack of that "discernment and reflection" that is mentioned above.
Silence is also key to prayer, as I have mentioned recently. I look forward to reading the forthcoming message of Pope Benedict which is customarily published on the memorial of St Francis de Sales (January 24th), patron saint of writers. World Communications Day itself is kept on the Sunday before Pentecost (May 20th in 2012).
Reluctant Sinner has further comment.