Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Silence and Solitude Reveal the Presence of God -- Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, 9 OCT 2011 (VIS) - Having addressed the local people of Serra San Bruno, the Holy Father entered the Carthusian monastery of Sts. Stephen and Bruno where he was greeted by the prior, Fr. Jacques Dupont. At 6 p.m. the Pope presided at Vespers with the monastic community in the monastery church.

In his homily the Pope explained that the aim of his visit was to confirm the Carthusian Order in its mission, "more vital and important today than ever before", he said. The spiritual core of the Carthusians, founded by St. Bruno, lies in the desire "to enter into union of life with God, abandoning everything which impedes such communion, allowing oneself to be seized by the immense love of God and living from that love alone", through solitude and silence.

Technological progress, the Holy Father noted, has made man's life more comfortable but also "more agitated, even convulsive". The growth of the communications media means that today we run the risk of virtual reality dominating reality itself. "People are increasingly, even unwittingly, immersed in a virtual dimension, thanks to the audiovisual images that accompany their lives from morning to evening. The youngest, having been born in this state, seem to fill each vacant moment with music and images, almost as if afraid to contemplate the void. ... Some people are no longer capable of remaining silent and alone".

This situation of modern society and culture "throws light on the specific charism of the Carthusian monastery as a precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift which contains a profound message for our lives and for all humanity. I would summarize it in these terms: by withdrawing in silence and solitude man, so to speak, 'exposes' himself to the truth of his nakedness, he exposes himself to that apparent 'void' I mentioned earlier.

But in doing so he experiences fullness, the presence of God, of the most real Reality that exists. ... Monks, by leaving everything, ... expose themselves to solitude and silence so as to live only from what is essential; and precisely in living from the essential they discover a profound communion with their brothers and sisters, with all mankind".

This vocation, the Pope went on, "finds its response in a journey, a lifelong search. ... Becoming a monk requires time, exercise, patience. ... The beauty of each vocation in the Church lies in giving time to God to work with His Spirit, and in giving time to one's own humanity to form, to grow in a particular state of life according to the measure of maturity in Christ. In Christ there is everything, fullness. However we need time to possess one of the dimensions of His mystery. ... At times, in the eyes of the world, it seems impossible that someone should spend his entire life in a monastery, but in reality a lifetime is hardly sufficient to enter into this union with God, into the essential and profound Reality which is Jesus Christ".

"The Church needs you and you need the Church", the Holy Father told the monks at the end of his homily. "You, who live in voluntary isolation, are in fact at the heart of the Church; you ensure that the pure blood of contemplation and of God's love flows in her veins".

Following the celebration, the Holy Father met with the monastic community in the refectory, he signed the visitors book then visited a cell and the infirmary of the monastery. He then returned by helicopter to Lamezia Terme whence he departed by plane for Rome at 8 p.m.


PV-ITALY/Vatican Information Service
20111010 (610)

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