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Pope Francis: Be Silent to Know God’s Tenderness

Dec. 12, 2013

Pope Francis has said that in preparing for Christmas, we would do well to take a moment of silence to listen to God who speaks to us with the tenderness of a father and of a mother.

In his homily during Mass on 12th December, at the Casa Santa Marta, the Holy Father referred to the first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, stressing the importance of recognizing not only “what the Lord says” but “how He says it.”

God speaks to us just like a parent speaking to their children, he said. “When the child has a bad dream, he wakes up, cries . . . the father goes and says, ‘Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, I’m here.’ That’s how the Lord speaks to us. ‘Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you maggot Israel’ (Isaiah 41,13).”

“The Lord has this way of speaking to us: He is near,” he continued. “When we look at a father or a mother talking to their little child, we see that they become little and speak with a voice and manners of a child”.

Someone looking in from the outside would think it is “ridiculous!” he said.  However, this is because the love of a father and a mother needs to be close. I say this word: to lower themselves to the world of a child. If parents speak to them normally, the child would still understand; but when they take up the manner of speaking like a child, they come close, they become children. And so it is with the Lord.”

The Greek theologians, Pope Francis recalled, explained this attitude of God with a somewhat difficult word: “synkatábasi” or “the condescension of God who comes down to make Himself as one of us.”

Pope Francis referred to Elijah’s encounter with God, when the Lord came to him as “a sweet breeze” (cf. 1 Kings 19,11ff), or, as it says in the original text, “a sound of silence”. That is how the Lord draws near, with that resonance of silence that is proper to love. Without making a spectacle.” And “He becomes small in order to make me strong; He goes to death, with that condescendence, so that I might live”:

“This is the music of the language of the Lord, and we, in the preparation for Christmas, ought to hear it - it would do us so much good,” the Holy Father said in closing.

“Normally, Christmas seems to be a very noisy holiday: it would do us good to have a little silence and to hear these words of love, these words of such nearness, these words of tenderness . . . ‘You are a worm, but I love you so much.’ Let us pray for this, and to be silent at this time in which, as it says in the preface, we are watchful in waiting.” 


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