The invitation of Father Bernardo Francesco Maria Gianni, preacher of the Lenten Retreat of Pope Francis and the Roman Curia, at Ariccia, from March 10-15, 2019, was to “dare silence,” not to be afraid to live the night to rediscover “astonishment” before God.
In his eighth meditation, in the afternoon of March 14, the Benedictine Abbot of San Miniato al Monte mentioned the man who no longer waits for anything, the “desperate heart.” “We are always more afraid to live the night and its risk of emptiness and desert,” he noted. ”On withdrawing into silence and solitude, man exposes himself to the reality of his nakedness.”
So the preacher encouraged to “dare silence,” to dare a fecund space of this mysterious contemplation that finally leads our heart back to a possible, new astonishment.” “It’s worthwhile to get up . . . to look up, to recognize in the firmament a great message of beauty and love that the Lord gives us, to orient us on the roads of the world.”
In particular, Father Abbot stressed the importance of educating young people to contemplation, given today’s “inability to live the night for what it is, a space of mystery, which calls for one to walk on tiptoes to perceive the seemingly weaker signs, but in reality more eloquent and more precious, which the Lord doesn’t cease to give man.”
To dare silence, continued Father Gianni, is also to “listen to what is lacking” and to ”hold our heart ajar to a poetic contemplation.” “I believe that each one of us must rediscover — let me say it with a fraternal passion — the little poet that lives in his heart, as a child, capable of touching Heaven with the finger, capable of a rediscovered creativity . . . of unheard of intuitions, and to leave behind us, finally, a wake of beauty, of lightness, of mystery.”
“One can rediscover interiority through the suspension of daily repetition,” concluded the monk, indicating monasteries as “places where one enters the diocese of the night and the ministry of silence,” where one can rediscover “the grace of a time that is suspended and the possibility of raising one’s gaze to the sky, rediscovering it full of stars.”