Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pope Benedict on Communications and Prayer

In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through whom the world was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word and deed.-Pope Benedict XVI, 46th World Communications Day, 24 Jan. 2012
St Dominic Adoring the Crucifixion
You might have heard that Papa Benny has established a Twitter account. You can follow him, like I am, @Pontifex if you choose. Now, 140 characters is limited, and take into consideration that human language can only convey what we can understand, that which is finite. He won't be writing encyclicals on Twitter, that's for sure. But, you can convey information to where the people are. Peter went to Rome for several reasons. One of these was to undercut the declaration of Caesar as Lord. That's the most important, but another was quite simple: Rome was the center point of the ancient world. From there, the Gospel could be brought anywhere. So I think it's quite appropriate to use the most effective means of communication to evangelize.

Now, what the Holy Father gives to us in the above quote is insightful. Spoken or written language is limited, but what we reveal to God in our spoken words and silent thoughts is known always to Him, even if we cannot get something across. We can forget who we are praying for, but God knows our intentions.

Silence. How hard is that to find, do you think, in today's world? Right now, I hear the mashing of keys as I type while listening to music. This week in class it was so quiet you could hear a paperclip drop, as my teacher said. But as rare as the quiet in class was, it was not meaningful. We just decided not to interact with one another in a hurry to move onto the next part of the day.

Sacred silence is important. Before Mass, do not talk. Rather, after you genuflect (for I hope the tabernacle is at the front, or at least visible), pray. During Mass, offer your intentions, both those who the priest has decided to offer and yours on your heart, in union with the priest. Don't forget to pray in union with the entire Church with the prayers of the Holy Mass. Take advantage of the time after Communion to pray further, especially in thanksgiving. Then, at the end of Mass, pray as you go forth, back into the world. Another place to pray in silence is in Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. There you can move between devotions which require structure (like the Rosary), intellectual exercises (like prayer journals and reading), and contemplative prayer.
Pope BXVI on iPad last year, launching Twitter feed

Pope Benedict also mentions the Word, or Logos in Greek. Logos is God by His nature, and therefore that of Christ and the Spirit, and God is reason. We have knowledge of this, for He wrote it onto our hearts. Finally, the Word would be what was preached, and the deed would be the gift of Himself on the Cross and the institution of the Church and sacraments.

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