(ZENIT News / Rome, 24.01.2023).- ZENIT offers 19 brief contents of special value taken from the Message for the 2023 World Day of Social Communications.
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1st It is the heart that spurred us to go, to see and to listen, and it is the heart that moves us towards an open and welcoming way of communicating.
2nd We should not be afraid of proclaiming the truth, even if it is at times uncomfortable, but of doing so without charity, without heart.
3rd “A Christian’s programme “ is a heart that reveals the truth of our being with its beat and that, for this reason, should be listened to. This leads those who listen to attune themselves to the same wave length, to the point of being able to hear within their heart also the heartbeat of the other.
4th In order to communicate truth with charity, it is necessary to purify one’s heart.
5th The call to speak with the heart radically challenges the times in which we are living, which are so inclined towards indifference and indignation, at times even on the basis of disinformation which falsifies and exploits the truth.
6th Communicating in a cordial manner means that those who read or listen to us are led to welcome our participation in the joys, fears, hopes and suffering of the women and men of our time.
7th In a historical period marked by polarization and contrasts — to which unfortunately not even the ecclesial community is immune — the commitment to communicating “with open heart and arms” does not pertain exclusively to those in the field of communications; it is everyone’s responsibility.
8th We are called to seek and to speak the truth and to do so with charity.
9th No evil word should come from our mouths, but rather “only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
10th Sometimes friendly conversations can open a breach even in the most hardened of hearts.
11th Communication should never be reduced to something artificial, to a marketing strategy, as we might say nowadays, but it is rather a reflection of the soul, the visible surface of a nucleus of love that is invisible to the eye. For Saint Francis de Sales, precisely “in the heart and through the heart, there comes about a subtle, intense and unifying process in which we can come to know God.”
12th It is from this “criterion of love” that, through his writings and witness of life, the saintly Bishop of Geneva reminds us that “we are what we communicate.”
13th Communication is often exploited so that the world may see us as we would like to be and not as we are.
14th If we look today at the field of communications, are these not precisely the characteristics that an article, a report, a television or radio programme or a social media post should include?
15th “In the Church too, there is a great need to listen to and to hear one another. It is the most precious and life-giving gift we can offer each other.”
16th We have a pressing need in the Church for communication that kindles hearts, that is balm on wounds and that shines light on the journey of our brother and sisters. I dream of an ecclesial communication that knows how to let itself be guided by the Holy Spirit, gentle and at the same time, prophetic, that knows how to find new ways and means for the wonderful proclamation it is called to deliver in the third millennium. A communication which puts the relationship with God and one’s neighbour, especially the neediest, at the centre and which knows how to light the fire of faith rather than preserve the ashes of a self-referential identity. A form of communication founded on humility and listening and parrhesia in speaking, which never separates truth from charity.
17th It is urgent to maintain a form of communication that is not hostile. It is necessary to overcome the tendency to “discredit and insult opponents from the outset [rather]than to open a respectful dialogue.”
18th As was the case sixty years ago, we are now also living in a dark hour in which humanity fears an escalation of war that must be stopped as soon as possible, also at the level of communication. It is terrifying to hear how easily words calling for the destruction of people and territories are spoken. Words, unfortunately, that often turn into warlike actions of heinous violence.
19th From the heart come the right words to dispel the shadows of a closed and divided world, and to build a civilization which is better than the one we have received.