‘Without silence, we lose our bearings’

En español

I was reflecting on one of the most important needs of the human being: time.

We need it not only because everyone is increasingly busy, but also because each person needs to set time aside to be alone and recognize the gift of life. A person needs to encounter one’s history and own reality. In other words, it is important to spend time meditating on what transcends our human limits and open our hearts to God himself.

We celebrated Labor Day in September. In many parts of the world, it’s celebrated in May. No matter when it’s observed, this festivity makes us ponder what we really celebrate. Do we celebrate work as a means of self-improvement and self-fulfillment? Is it a tool to live with dignity? Or do we celebrate work as an activity that turns people into just another cog in a chain of production and consumption, as an activity that doesn’t respect human dignity?

If work is celebrated as the means to live in excessive consumerism, seeking happiness in the accumulation of material goods, that is not work because it’s not dignifying. True work respects and dignifies. The human being has a heart and can never become disposable! We cannot let ourselves be trapped by the lie of living and working only to multiply wealth and possessions.

True work allows the person to develop abilities and find fulfillment. Work, then, must answer one’s vocation! It’s necessary for the dignity of each person!

We work hard to provide for the family, earn an income and improve our standard of living, but do we work to celebrate the gift of life and discover our purpose in life?

Today, we equate being busy with being important. However, when we are too busy, we let the much-needed silence disappear. Instead, noise fills our lives, making us deaf to the voice of Jesus. Nowadays, we live bombarded. That is, we allow ourselves to be bombarded by media and social networks. We are constantly looking for the latest thing, and easily letting influencers shape our lives. We live in a fast-paced world and its noise is silencing truth; it’s silencing God.

We discover our dignity and find our rightful place to find personal fulfillment when we set time aside for what is truly important. We must follow the example of Jesus, who does not let his daily routine separate him from his father. We, too, can make time for God. If we do this, if we set time aside to be with God, to listen to him, and reciprocate his love, God, who is not outdone in generosity, will fill us with abundant graces.

It is in silence that we learn to listen to God’s voice, that we learn the language of love. Everyone needs silence. Without silence, we lose our bearings. Silence allows us to recognize the gifts God has bestowed upon us, to recognize our dignity and individuality, and to discover our purpose in life: the vocation for which God has created us.

Jesus often sought moments to be alone. He withdrew from those around him to enjoy time with his heavenly father. In this way, he carried out and fulfilled the mission his father had entrusted him: to live and preach mercy and love.

The world seems deaf to the words of Jesus. God’s place in our lives has been usurped by money, by wanting more, and by being busy, creating a void in the human heart and society.

Society measures wealth by how much money one has, and by material possessions, but is blind to the ill effects of the violence of excessive consumerism - physical, affective, spiritual and emotional violence - and is indifferent to the countless human lives destroyed by false ideologies. The absence of God and his love means darkness, emptiness and a total void! This occurs when we lose the desire for silence and neglect our time for God. Furthermore, if we don’t make time to listen to God in our hearts, we won’t be able to listen to our neighbor.

Let us follow the example of Jesus; let’s escape from the hustle and bustle of the world to encounter the love of God. Let us learn to listen to his voice amid our daily routine and daily work and thus learn to listen and converse with our families and communities with the language of love. May we light up the world with the gifts we receive from Jesus in moments of silence with him, and thus be missionaries of the Good News.