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Silence is key to contemplation, Pope reminds audience

Catholic World News - August 10, 2011

Silence is the key to contemplative prayer, Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on August 10.

“God speaks in silence, but we need to know how to listen,” the Pope told the crowd in the courtyard of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. He observed that contemplative communities have always sought to locate their monasteries in settings of natural beauty. These beautiful settings, he said, “are like a reflection of the spiritual harmony which the community itself attempts to create.”

The Holy Father reminded his audience that August 11 is the feast of St. Claire of Assisi, who settled her religious community at the church of San Damiano, on a lovely hill outside Assisi. Such places become oases of serenity in a busy world, the Pope said, and the prayers offered there make them also the “weight-bearing structures” for society.

“These places,” the Pope said, “unite two elements which are very important for contemplative life: the beauty of creation, which recalls that of the Creator, and silence, which is guaranteed by living far from cities and the great means of communication.”

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