Pope asks: have we Christians become too silent?

 Speaking and listening are essential conditions for building the civilisation of love, Pope Benedict said during ecumenical Vespers at the Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls on the last day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Speaking in the presence of representatives of other Christian communities the Pope reflected on the theme chosen for this year's Week of Prayer for Unity. "The words 'He makes the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak' are the good news which announces the arrival of God's Kingdom, the healing of incommunicability and division - the Pope said "This message is found in all the teachings and activity of Jesus who travels to villages, towns and open countryside 'And wherever he went, to village or town or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were saved (Mk 6,56)." Recalling the Gospel account of the healing of the man who was deaf and dumb, the Pope said "in the Christian perspective, listening is a priority Therefore listening to the Word of God is a priority for our ecumenical commitment. It is not we who build or organise the unity of the Church. The Church does not build up herself, she lives not of herself but of the creating word which comes from the mouth of God. Listening together to the Word of God; practicing lectio divina of the Bible, reading linked with prayer; letting ourselves be surprised by the unchanging and inexhaustible newness of God's Word; overcoming our deafness for words not in keeping with our prejudices and opinions; listen and study, in communion of believers of every era; all this is part of a the path to travel to reach unity in the faith, in response to listening to the Word." "Those who wish to listen to the Word of God can and must then speak and share it with others - to those who have never heard it, or those who have forgotten it and hidden it under the thorns of the anxieties and illusions of the world". He added: "We must ask ourselves: have we Christians become too silent? Do we perhaps lack the courage to speak out and bear witness like those who witnessed the healing of the deaf and dumb man? Our world needs this witness; it waits especially for the common witness of Christians. Hence, listening to God who speaks, implicates reciprocal listening, dialogue among Churches and Ecclesial Communities. Honest and sincere dialogue is the indispensable path for advancing towards unity In dialogue we listen and we communicate; we compare positions and with God's grace we reach an agreement in his Word accepting its demands which are valid for all." Source: Fides

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