Aide: Make Way for the Word of God

Says More Than a Bodily Fast Is Needed This Lent

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Fasting from words and images this Lent will help to prepare the soul to listen to the Word of God -- the Word with a capital "W," commented a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this during the most recent episode of the weekly Vatican Television program "Octava Dies." He was reflecting on the proposal Benedict XVI made to priests of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday when asked how one should live Lent.

The Pope answered: "It seems to me that the time of Lent should be a time of fasting from words and images, because we need a little silence, a little space, without being constantly bombarded with images.

"We need to create spaces of silence [...] to open our hearts to the true image, to the true Word."

Father Lombard reiterated the Holy Father's observation: "We live in a time in which we are inundated with words and images. They are so numerous and so confused that they lose their value and it is difficult to recognize profound meaning in them."

The spokesman continued: "We need not only a bodily fast, but probably even more a 'fast' from words and images, to rediscover the space of interior silence in which we can listen to the Word, the Word of God -- the Word with a capital ‘W.'

"In this time of the explosive development of social communications, it is an important path of reflection and spiritual inquiry. Difficult, but vital. A discipline, we should also say an asceticism, in the use of communication is more urgent than ever, so that we can know how to use it for the good and not to become its slaves."

Father Lombardi said the Pope offered another reflection: "He acutely observes that there is a positive rebirth in Christian art and music. Not only must we succeed in being silent in an invasion of superficiality, vulgarity and pornography, but we must also effectively oppose it, nourishing our vision and our interior life, our imagination and out interior senses with purifying beauty and true images.

"Jesus is the true image of God, the Pope reminds us. We need to return to contemplate -- with physical and spiritual eyes -- not only the images of the Gospel, but also every form of beauty that is capable of liberating the spirit. Silence is true beauty for the freedom of the spirit."