“Interior and exterior silence are necessary in order to hear that Word,” and yet, “our age does not, in fact, favor reflection and contemplation,” the Pope said March 7. On the contrary, “it seems that people are afraid to detach themselves, even for an instant, from the spate of words and images which mark and fill our days.”
The Pope’s words make so much sense to me particularly during this season of Lent. We tend to fill our lives consuming so much media and information that we do develop a fear of detachment from our technology. We feel lost without our gadgets. And while we don’t truly believe that our gadgets replace God, we sure sometimes act like they do. We get so worked up over an almost-dead cell phone battery or the internet acting sluggish. We can all probably think of times when we felt angry over missing a favorite TV show. And yet many times we don’t feel the slightest bit of anxiety over the sins we commit or not regularly receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We often have no worries about overlooking routine prayer and meditating on our relationship with the Lord. We spend so much time staying up to date with what our friends are up to and what goes on in the world, but often don’t take the time to check our status with God through reflection and contemplation.
The pope’s words remind me of the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the rosary — The Assumption of Mary. Mary was assumed into Heaven and now acts as our guide on our journey to God’s heavenly kingdom. In asking for silence and meditation, the Pope echos Mary’s call to fasting and prayer. Fasting from food is a physical reminder that true happiness does not come from just satisfying our earthly needs. When we fast, we show ourselves that it’s not what the world offers that will ultimately make us happy. We push aside, even for just a little while, satisfying our physical desires so that we can concentrate on satisfying our spiritual needs. But we can fast from things other than food. We can fast from whatever prevents us from meditating and focusing on our relationship with God. As you probably guessed already, perhaps we need to fast from our computers, cell phones, and televisions. Lent may be half over, but we can all still find a little time to “unplug” as the Pope suggests.