Pope Warns of 'Virtuality' Overtaking 'Reality'

Encourages Silence and Solitude so as to Experience God

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LAMEZIA TERME, Italy, OCT. 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Human beings need to «expose themselves to reality,» says Benedict XVI. And he encouraged silence and solitude as a way to do this.

The Pope spoke Sunday of the need for silence when he addressed a group of Carthusian monks during a one-day trip to southeastern Italy.

The Holy Father noted that in today’s world, media has developed to such a point that «virtuality» «risks getting the upper hand over reality.»

In a world where people are immersed in an audio and visual dimension from morning till night, the youngest «seem to want to fill every empty moment with music and images,» he said, adding that it’s almost as if they fear the «emptiness» of silence and solitude.

The Bishop of Rome suggested this trend has reached such a level as «to give rise to talk about anthropological mutation.»

«Some people are no longer capable of remaining for long periods in silence and solitude,» the Pontiff observed.

In this context, he said the monastery is a «precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift that contains a deep message for our life and for the whole of humanity.»

«I shall sum it up like this,» the Pope said. «By withdrawing into silence and solitude, human beings, so to speak, ‘expose’ themselves to reality in their nakedness, to that apparent ‘void,’ which I mentioned at the outset, in order to experience instead Fullness, the presence of God.»


Benedict XVI went on to clarify that a monk does not learn to be in God’s presence just by going into the monastery.

The monk’s «risk,» exposing himself «to solitude and silence in order to live on nothing but the essential,» requires development, the Pope reflected. «This vocation, like every vocation, finds an answer in an ongoing process, in the searching of a whole life.

«Indeed it is not enough to withdraw to a place such as this in order to learn to be in God’s presence. Just as in marriage it is not enough to celebrate the sacrament to become effectively one but it is necessary to let God’s grace act and to walk together through the daily routine of conjugal life, so becoming monks requires time, practice and patience.»

The Pontiff said the beauty of every vocation consists in this, «giving God time to act with his Spirit and to one’s own humanity to form itself, to grow in that special state of life according to the measure of the maturity of Christ.»

«In Christ there is everything, fullness; we need time to make one of the dimensions of his mystery our own,» he continued. «We could say that this is a journey of transformation in which the mystery of Christ’s resurrection is brought about and made manifest in us. (…) The Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and will give life even to our mortal bodies is the One who also brings about our configuration to Christ in accordance with each one’s vocation. (…) In the world’s eyes it sometimes seems impossible to spend one’s whole life in a monastery but in fact a whole life barely suffices to enter into this union with God, into this essential and profound Reality which is Jesus Christ.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33638?l=english

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