In an ecumenical prayer on the eve of the General Assembly of the Synod, Pope Francis said that truth “does not need loud cries to reach people’s hearts.”
Written by Joseph Tulloch
Pope Francis addressed thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for an ecumenical prayer.
The faithful – from all walks of life, including the heads of many Christian churches – have come together to entrust the upcoming General Assembly of the Synod to the Holy Spirit.
In his speech, delivered at the end of the vigil, Pope Francis reflected on the theme of silence, stressing in particular three values that he holds for Christians today.
Silence and the voice of God
The Pope began his speech by saying: “Silence is the beginning and end of Christ’s presence on earth. The Word, the Word of the Father, became “silence” in the manger and on the cross, on the night of Christmas and on the night of His Passion.
In fact, he noted, God seemed to prefer silence to “screaming, gossiping, and noise.” When He appeared to the prophet Elijah, God did not appear in wind, earthquake, or fire, but in a “low, quiet voice.”
Pope Francis said that truth, in the end, “does not need loud cries to reach people’s hearts.”
For this reason, he said, we too, as believers, need to “free ourselves from so much noise in order to hear His voice.” Because his word only resonates in our silence.
Silence and church life
The Holy Father then turned his attention to the Acts of the Apostles, which says that after Peter’s speech to the Jerusalem Council “the whole assembly remained silent.”
This reminds us, as Pope Francis said, that “silence in the ecclesial community makes fraternal communication possible.” Only when we are silent to listen to others is the Holy Spirit able to “bring perspectives together.”
Moreover, silence “enables true discernment, through attentive listening to the deep sighs of the soul that words cannot echo, and which are often hidden, within the people of God.”
Therefore, Pope Francis encouraged those gathered in St. Peter’s Square to ask the Holy Spirit to “grant the gift of listening” to participants in upcoming synod meetings.
Silence and Christian unity
The final aspect of silence, the Pope said, is that it is “necessary for the path of Christian unity.”
He said this is because silence is “the foundation of prayer, and ecumenism begins with prayer and is futile without it.”
Thus, “the more we turn to the Lord together in prayer, the more we feel that it is He who purifies us and unites us above our differences.”
Pope Francis ended his address by praying that we “learn again to be silent: to listen to the voice of the Father, to the call of Jesus and the groaning of the Spirit.”
He said: “Let us require that the complex be A kairós “Brotherhood, the place where the Holy Spirit will cleanse the Church of gossip, ideologies and polarization,” and “Can we know, like the Magi, how to worship in unity and silence the mystery of God who became man, confident that the closer we are to Christ, the more we will be More united among us.
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