Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Verbum Domini, “in the dynamic of Christian revelation, silence appears as an important expression of the word of God.” The Holy Father reminds us, however, that,

“Ours is not an age which fosters recollection; at times one has the impression that people are afraid of detaching themselves, even for a moment, from the mass media. For this reason, it is necessary nowadays that the People of God be educated in the value of silence.”

The pope is referring to the modern world’s dependence on the television, radio, Internet, Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, i-Pods and a seemingly endless array of communications media.

Pope Benedict pointed out in his recent communications message that different religious traditions “consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things.”

The pope says, “The mysteries of Christ all involve silence. Only in silence can the word of God find a home in us, as it did in Mary, woman of the word and, inseparably, woman of silence.”

Those of us in religious life, especially those in contemplative orders, are about being countercultural—not withdrawn, but countercultural. What is more countercultural in our society today than learning the value of silence, of learning to be quiet?

I ask all of us, especially the young people, during Lent to learn from Almighty God to simply be silent. Because in silence—and this is what our religious brothers and sisters in contemplative life teach us—you touch your inner being. In silence, you remove all of the distractions and all of the noises.

In silence, we discover our dignity. In silence, we touch God’s life in us. In silence, we find love. In silence, we find true faith. Moreover, in silence, we find hope.

Lent is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to take time in silence; to learn to be quiet; to pray, as Jesus did, to our Father in solitude.  Repent! And believe in the Gospel.

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