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Dear Friends, Communicators of Latin America,
On this dearly loved feast of our Mother, who harmonizes millions of people of the continent in the same spirit, I wish to send you again my cordial greeting.
The continental mission, which is under way in Latin America, encourages many persons to renew their awareness of what it means to be disciples of Jesus. The local churches are promoting this task with enthusiasm, recalling that to be disciples means to have lived a genuine encounter with him, to have experienced his goodness, his love and his mercy in our personal history. This experience marks and transforms life in a permanent way, and that is why we wish to communicate it to others, thus transforming ourselves into men and women missionaries.
The encounter with the Lord has many facets. Being personal, it is always also of the community; it happens in solitude and silence, but also in a privileged way in liturgical celebrations and in family life. It is nourished by dialogue and community prayer, expressed in song, in catechesis and ends in action and service.
That is why, on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would like to invite you, precisely as men and women communicators, to enjoy once more the experience of encountering Christ. I invite you to live moments of silence during these days of Advent, to hear Jesus' voice who speaks to our heart. Holding Mary's hand, let us meet with him without haste, as he always awaits us! Lets put a dike to the flood of concerns and noises that so often drag us endlessly. Silence is like a blank screen on which we can project the film of our daily life to see it clearly. If we project it on a wall full of pictures, books and objects, with a background of noise, we will understand little. Only in silence do we assume in a more conscious way our options; in silence we hear the voice of God. In this way we will be able to be genuine bearers of his Word -- as Mary who, "kept all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:19) -- and do whatever he tells us (cf. John 2:5).
Perhaps it is difficult advice to follow at this moment of news bombardment, pastoral needs, bustle in families, in our media and in parishes, not to mention purchases, gifts, parties and celebrations. However, if we dedicate time to choose the ingredients and to prepare the dinners and meals we will share over the holidays, must we not also prepare, and even more so, what we will communicate through radios, newspapers, television programs and Web sites? What can we give that is substantial, if our life is filled only with repeated words, with little depth and contents? Let us dedicate time to the Lord whom we are awaiting this Advent.
May Mary of Guadalupe, Empress of America and also patroness of RIIAL [Information Network of the Church in Latin America], grant us from God the gift of interior silence, precisely to be able to renew our life of discipleship, so that he will make fruitful our words, texts, images and musical notes, and make them bearers of the Good News.
Happy feast of Guadalupe and a very happy Christmas to you all.
+Claudio Maria Celli
Pontifical Council for Social Communications