By Father Thomas Rosica, CSB
This is an excerpt from a lecture given for World Catholicism Week at DePaul University in April.
Each year for the past 46 years, popes have issued a message for World Day of Communications, which is commemorated in these parts of the world on the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord (May 20 this year).
In recent years, the messages have focused on the revolution in communications caused by the Internet and have included references to blog, websites, social media, smartphones and more.
For this year's World Day of Communications, the Vatican released the Holy Father's 2012 message called, "Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization."
You can imagine some of our more vocal critics taking us to task for this year's theme! I am part of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications at the Vatican and as soon as this year's message was released, several people called or wrote saying: "So, you advised the Pope to tell us all to be quiet!"
Quite the contrary, it was the Holy Father himself who felt that after several years of messages announcing that the Church really got it and was on board with the new media, it was time to stop, pause and reflect on what this daring, new adventure is all about.
In his message for 2012, Pope Benedict writes about the importance of silence in communication, especially listening and contemplation.
Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist.
The Pope tells us that we need to carve out space for silence, to create an "ecosystem" that balances the hubbub of daily life, especially with social networks and the like, and silence.
Stepping away from cacophony of Facebook and Twitter, and the vast wealth of information found on Wikipedia or websites, helps us to exercise discernment in sifting through them, assessing them for reliability, charity, and adherence to truth and first principles.
Silence and contemplation help us to wait for and discern the right answer, instead of the quick answer.
God speaks to us in the silence and in silent contemplation we are immersed in the love of God. The Word is found in the silence.
Out of that silent contemplation springs the mission that inspires and compels us forward.
Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, is the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation.