1 The man and his words have moved on, yet the Word remains!
2 Let’s keep this in perspective: NEVER BEFORE has a Pope been so accessible to the world!
“In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thought can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives.”
– MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI FOR THE 46th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization
[Sunday, 20 May 2012]
I came across this quote from Pope Emeritus (!) Benedict XVI last weekend when I was at the Religious Education Congress down in Anaheim. I had gone to a talk by the Bible Geek, Mark Hart, about Evangelization through Social Media and this was one of the messages that is still striking me, still reminding me why I write in the first place. The biggest challenge is to make sure that I do keep on cultivating my inner life.
Honestly, I don’t know if there has been anything other than the Eucharist and my daily Holy Hour that has helped me grow stronger in my vocation, closer to God and to all of you, more thankful for ministry than when I’ve been writing these reflections for you. In that same message, Benedict speaks of how important silence is for letting the best, most expressively loving words come forth: my Holy Hour can be that silence and my writing can be that expression.
These words I’ve been writing so often feel like they barely scratch the surface of what God is really doing in our lives. But when I feel that, I’ve got to remind myself to trust that what I write does come out of prayer, that I’m not writing to boast or to build myself up. From the beginning I’ve known that I have to have some kind of non-attachment to what I write. One of the most beautiful things about getting to write these reflections for you, is that I don’t know who exactly is reading this, that I know that my words are merely words and that it is God that will move us. If I start writing to impress, I get in the way of what really needs to be said. So I will not stop writing, because it truly is the fruit of silence and prayer, and I’m convinced that it needs to be written and it needs to be read, not for my own sake, but because it’s something we get to share together.
Oh, and yes, after a long time of prayer and discernment, I have decided to expand my ability to reach out, to make sure more and more people can hear about the graces of what’s going on here at the Seminary.
Yup, I am now on Twitter.
Mark Hart asked how many of us knew we should be on Twitter but just plain didn’t want to be. That’s totally me! He also said St. Paul would have had a Twitter account. Sold! It hit me just then that I had waited too long. So now I’m going to try it out. And I’m going to try to keep in mind what our great Pope Emeritus (it’s going to take a whole to get used to that title!) tells us, that we must keep in mind our inner life. As a matter of fact, I just had a challenging, but fruitful, talk with my spiritual director about this: I cannot let the ways I “broadcast” my life, whether by Facebook, or Twitter, or even through these reflections, replace the time I spend honestly, humbly, lovingly before the Lord in prayer, as friends who don’t even have to say a word to each other.
And so we have an amazing chance these days with the rise of social media. We can bombard each other with Instagrams of food and we can over-saturate the world with less than loving messages with our Facebooks and Twitters. Or we can open our hearts to the world. We can let the fruit of our silence and prayers create something beautiful, daily, to share with the world. For example, we can post one thing each day that we’re thankful for, simple as that! We can bless the world around us with not just excessive words, but with the Word. As long as we remember not to neglect our own inner lives, as long we don’t neglect how God wants his love to overflow out of us. So we could really be blessed right now to share our inner lives with others, using our Twitters, Facebooks, Instagrams, or whatever. And I am the first to admit how easy it can be to say something not loving, without deeply reflecting on it first, but like never before we have the chance to inundate the world with His love.