Today’s world is loud, and hectic.

“But many times, each one of us look inside, we are working on something, and when we finish, we immediately look for our phone to do something else… We are always like this, and this does not help. This makes us slip into superficiality.”

Pope Francis says we need to rediscover the value of silence. So how can we?

At his Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis explained the role of Saint Joseph as a “man of silence” during his catechesis, and how we can learn from his example.

“The Gospels report none of his spoken words, yet they present Joseph as a model of attentive hearing of God’s word and acting upon it. In fact, Joseph’s silence was the sign of a contemplative heart, confirming Saint Augustine’s observation that, ‘when the word of God increases, human words fail.’ Joseph’s quiet humility teaches us to make room in our hearts for Christ, and thus to discern the Father’s will for our lives.”

He said silence is “an important personal aspect” that Christ learned and incorporated in his own life and ministry.

“Jesus was raised in this ‘school,’ in the house of Nazareth, with the daily example of Mary and Joseph. And it is not surprising that he himself sought spaces of silence in his days and invited his disciples to have such an experience.” 

However, learning silence isn’t easy, and can even be scary!

“How good it would be if each one of us, following the example of Saint Joseph, were able to recover this contemplative dimension of life, opened wide in silence. But we all know from experience that it is not easy: silence frightens us a little, because it asks us to delve into ourselves and to confront the part of us that is true. And many people are afraid of silence, they have to speak, and speak, and speak, or listen to radio or television… but they cannot accept silence because they are afraid.”

Pope Francis said “this is why we must learn from Joseph to cultivate silence,” because  “Jesus said clearly: whoever speaks ill of his brother or sister, whoever slanders his neighbor, is a murderer. Killing with the tongue.”

“That space of interiority in our days in which we give the Spirit the opportunity to regenerate us, to console us, to correct us. I am not saying to fall into muteness, no. Silence. Profoundness of the heart grows with silence, silence that is not mutism as I said, but which leaves space for wisdom, reflection and the Holy Spirit. Fruitful words when we speak, and we remember that song: words, words, words, and nothing of substance. Silence, speaking in the right way, and biting your tongue a little, which can be good at times instead of saying foolish things.”

He concluded with a prayer that you can pray below to help cultivate silence:

Saint Joseph, man of silence,
you who in the Gospel did not utter a single word,
teach us to fast from vain words,
to rediscover the value of words that edify, encourage, console and support.

Be close to those who suffer from words that hurt,
like slander and backbiting,
and help us always to match words with deeds. Amen. 

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