Benedict on Communication and Silence
Pope Benedict has devoted his 2012 World Communications Day message to the topic of "Silence and Word: The Path of Evangelization."
It's an interesting an fruitful topic for a Communications Day message. It touches both upon the theological concerns that are Benedict's forte and very contemporary concerns.
It would be easy enough to write about the need for silence amidst the many forms of jabbering communication that surround us. Indeed, one might suspect an octogenarian pope, born in the pre-electric era, to take this option. But he offers instead a reflection on the interplay of silence and speech, locating silence as a part of communication.
"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."
He carries this through even in the consideration of the internet:
"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."
I've been saved and struck of late by the relation of silence and listening. Ear plugs are so very different from the small sounds of the winter woods. The quiet rustlings of the leaves that remain point to a bigger silence always waiting to be heard.