Spend Time in Silence, Pope Tells Students,
Opens Academic Year of Pontifical Universities
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI counseled students of the pontifical universities in Rome to spend time in silence and contemplation, so as not to fall prey to the "inflation" of words.
The Holy Father said this on Monday afternoon to the university students who had gathered for the annual Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica to open the academic year. Benedict XVI told the students: "In-depth reflection on Christian truths and the study of theology or other religious disciplines presuppose an education in silence and contemplation, as it is necessary to be able to listen with the heart to God who speaks.
"Only if they proceed from the silence of contemplation can our words have a certain value and usefulness and not fall into the inflation of the world's speeches which seek the consensus of public opinion."Therefore, whoever studies in an ecclesiastical institution must be disposed to obedience and truth, and cultivate a certain asceticism of thought and word.
"The Pontiff added: "This asceticism is based on loving familiarity with the word of God."
"Pray: 'Lord, teach us to pray and also to think, to write and to speak,' as these faculties are intimately connected among themselves," the Pope said.
Benedict XVI told the students that "apostolate will be fruitful if you nourish your personal relationship with him, tending toward holiness and having as sole objective of your existence the realization of the kingdom of God."
Pondering these words, a good rule of thumb might be the following: spend one half hour of study/reflection/prayer for every minute of public speaking/ teaching/ preaching/blogging. For each minute we speak with a fellow human, then we can also devote a minute to personal prayer for them. This should make study more important and "vain conversation" less frequent.