Pope Francis on digital noise

On Ash Wednesday, the Holy Father offered some beautiful wisdom for technology-users everywhere. I was stunned by its simplicity:

“We are inundated with empty words, with advertisements, with subtle messages. We have become used to hearing everything about everyone and we risk slipping into a worldliness that atrophies our hearts … We chase a thousand things that seem necessary and in reality are not. How good it would be for us to get rid of so many superfluous realities, to rediscover what matters, to find the faces of those around us! … From a spiritual perspective, the desert is a place of life, not death. It is a place of silence, where we are interiorly free to hear the Lord’s word and to experience his loving call. In our busy world, how much we need that kind of silence, in order to grow in prayerful openness to God, to cultivate an ecology of the heart and to centre our lives on the things that really matter.

An important part of our Lenten desert experience is the practice of fasting, which trains us to recognize, in simplicity of heart, how often our lives are spent in empty and superficial pursuits. The solitude of the desert makes us all the more sensitive to those in our midst who quietly cry out for our help and encouragement. This Lent, may our prayer, fasting and works of mercy strengthen us in our resolve to follow the Lord on his journey through Good Friday to Easter Sunday, and enable us to know the power of his grace, which can make of every desert a garden of new life.”

I figured it was worth sharing with those who keep asking me to write more. It reminds me so much of Cardinal Sarah’s amazing book, The Power of Silence. Here’s an excerpt:

“It is necessary to protect precious silence from all parasitical noise. The noise of our “ego”, which never stops claiming its rights, plunging us into an excessive preoccupation with ourselves. The noise of our memory, which draws us toward the past, that of our recollections or of our sins. The noise of temptations or of acedia, the spirit of gluttony, lust, avarice, anger, sadness, vanity, pride—in short: everything that makes up the spiritual combat that man must wage every day. In order to silence these parasitical noises, in order to consume everything in the sweet flame of the Holy Spirit, silence is the supreme antidote.”