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…
(MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI, FOR THE 46th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY: Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization)
A couple of weeks ago, the hard-drive on my lap-top crashed. The repaired computer has returned home. My data was saved and restored, but I’m still in the process of down-loading all the necessary software. My mind is filled with usernames, account keys, and passwords. Meanwhile, I’m overwhelmed with tasks that were lost in cyber-space, and projects that are now even further behind schedule.
So, I needed a writing break. Writing helps me to center mind and heart. But, what should I write about? What do I need to hear to help me in the midst of a chaotic week?
During my daily web-surf of catholic and world news, I came across this amazing piece. Pope Benedict’s message for World Communications Day calls us all to seek silence. For those who delight in social communications, it seems a paradoxical message. Letting our voices be heard is the whole purpose of blogging, Face-booking, Twittering, and online discussing. Isn’t it? But what is the value of speaking if no one is listening? What is the use of listening if we don’t have the opportunity to enrich the discussion?
Respectful silence is at the heart of dialogue. This does not mean merely “biting our tongue”. It means listening deeply to the other. It means trying our best to understand without formulating instant responses and judgments.
I think that BXVI has a real winner with this message on Silence and Word. It’s a message I needed to hear. I hope to explore it further in the next few blog posts…