papal intention for november – dialogue!

Source: Pope’s general prayer intention for November is for dialogue (Vatican Radio)

Pope Francis wants us to pray for dialogue. This prayer intention, for the month of November, is timely and welcomed (at least by this blogger!) It comes as no surprise that dialogue is on the pope’s mind after the hard work – and sometimes craziness – of the October synod. Francis has a vision for a truly synodal church,

“a listening church, aware that listening is more than hearing. It is a reciprocal listening in which each one has something to learn.”

Listening is at the heart of dialogue. Constantly interrupting, or shouting down a speaker is not only rude. It shows an inability or lack of desire to listen to what the person is trying to say. The same is true for discussion board commenters who pull words out of context to attack a writer, while ignoring the main idea of an article.

Whether in speech or in writing, it takes more than a few words to express an idea. Listening is giving an other the sacred space to fully express themselves before engaging in a deeper discussion on the idea.

From the Vatican Radio article,

At a meeting in Brazil, Pope Francis said: “When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” He said, “It is the only way for individuals, families, and societies to grow along with the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return.”

The goal of dialogue is not to reach a false sense of consensus by letting go of our beliefs. The article continues,

Dialogue does not mean denying objective truth, but rather respecting the dignity of the other person “in a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced.”

We may not have a seat at the table of global discussions, but we sit at many tables in our daily lives. These everyday tables offer the same challenges of diverse views and different personalities. Whether it is with family, friends, workers, teachers, students, or faith communities, difficult discussions can be seen as a call to dialogue. To listen deeply before speaking.

For greater dialogue in our church and in our world….We pray….