By Catholic News Service
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Getting off the grid and leaving behind the city is a great way to bring some much-needed silence to one’s life, Pope Benedict XVI said.
“Silence is the condition of one’s surroundings that best fosters contemplation, listening to God and meditation,” he said Aug. 10 as he held his weekly general audience in the courtyard of the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo.
“Just the fact of being able to enjoy silence, to let oneself, as it were, be ‘filled’ by silence, predisposes us to prayer,” the pope said.
Many people spend a few days at a monastic community or spiritual center, which, as “places of the spirit, are a backbone of the world,” he said.
Monastic communities have been built in beautiful places that are close to nature, he said.
He said such places bring together two important elements: the beauty of creation and the Creator, and silence that comes from “being far from the city and major channels of communication.”
“God speaks in silence; however, it’s necessary to know how to listen to him. For this reason monasteries are oases in which God speaks to humanity,” he said.
The pope recalled the Aug. 11 feast day of St. Clare, founder of the Poor Clares, and the Aug. 9 feast day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) as saints who show people how to draw closer to God through quiet prayer and contemplation; he asked that Mary help people learn to love silence and learn to pray.
After his catechesis, the pope greeted some 2,000 pilgrims in eight different languages, especially young people who were en route to World Youth Day in Madrid.
The pope’s words were met with roaring enthusiasm as young people cheered and waved their countries’ flags and homemade banners. One small banner read “With Benedict in Madrid.”
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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English is posted online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110810_en.html.
The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish is posted online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110810_sp.html.
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