BATAS SIMBAHAN

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Why silence is important in relation to the word of God and its reception in the lives of the faithful?

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b) The word and silence

In their interventions, a good number of Synod Fathers insisted on the importance of silence in relation to the word of God and its reception in the lives of the faithful.[231] The word, in fact, can only be spoken and heard in silence, outward and inward. Ours is not an age which fosters recollection; at times one has the impression that people are afraid of detaching themselves, even for a moment, from the mass media. For this reason, it is necessary nowadays that the People of God be educated in the value of silence. Rediscovering the centrality of God’s word in the life of the Church also means rediscovering a sense of recollection and inner repose. The great patristic tradition teaches us that the mysteries of Christ all involve silence.[232] Only in silence can the word of God find a home in us, as it did in Mary, woman of the word and, inseparably, woman of silence. Our liturgies must facilitate this attitude of authentic listening: Verbo crescente, verba deficiunt.[233]

The importance of all this is particularly evident in the Liturgy of the Word, “which should be celebrated in a way that favours meditation”.[234] Silence, when called for, should be considered “a part of the celebration”.[235] Hence I encourage Pastors to foster moments of recollection whereby, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the word of God can find a welcome in our hearts.

[231] Cf. Propositio 14.
[232] Cf. Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Ephesios, XV, 2: Patres Apostolici, ed. F.X. Funk, Tubingae, 1901, I, 224.
[233] Saint Augustine, Sermo 288, 5: PL 38, 1307; Sermo 120, 2: PL 38, 677.
[234] General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 56
[235] Ibid., 45; cf.Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 30.

VERBUM DOMINI, Benedict XVI

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