Archbishop's Message

PRO-ACTIVE SILENCE AGAINST THE DICTATORSHIP OF NOISE

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ!

As a useful aid to our on-going reflection on ‘Pro-Active Silence’, I would like to recommend to you Cardinal Robert Sarah’s inspiration book, ‘The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise’. In my opinion, this book is a deeply relevant and indeed a prophetic work in the context of the ‘Noise’ of our world today.

Cardinal Sarah rightly warns us about the growing danger of ‘The Dictatorship of Noise’. In the age of information explosion, he writes, we have created noise as a whirlwind avoid facing the inner emptiness of our hearts and souls. He puts it, “(The noise of our world) becomes a tranquilizer, a sedative, a morphine pump, a sort of reverie, an incoherent dream-world. But this noise is a dangerous, deceptive medicine, a diabolic lie that helps man (us) avoid confronting himself in his interior emptiness. The awakening will necessary be brutal.” (No.56)

How true is this observation in our own lives! We have noise invading our senses from every side and through every medium only as a sedative to keep us distracted from our internal emptiness. We need to dare to shut down the noise around us; press the pause button and face the reality of ourselves, in the silence of our senses, the silence of our hearts and minds.

Cardinal Sarah identifies silence and prayer as the strongest weapons against the evil of the dictatorship of noise. He writes, “(We always) want to “do” things, but above all else, he (we) must “be”. In silent prayer, (we are) fully human (No.150).

He characterizes silence as the nature of God, character of God, language of God and most importantly, as the love of God. In silence, we meet God, as He really is! “God drapes himself in silence and reveals himself in the interior silence of our hearts.” (No. 237)

We need silence to face the reality of God, the reality of ourselves and the reality of our world. It is sad that the dictatorship of noise has invaded our families, our anbiyams and our churches too. We therefore need the power of silence in our liturgy, in our prayer, in our witnessing and in our work for social transformation.

LESSON: This courageous witness in willing to die with Christ from a seemingly one of the silent disciples is meant to surprise us. This is just an indication of the silent revolution that was going on in the heart of St Thomas, as he followed Jesus. When the Lord, despite all the urging and reminding of the disciples, wanted to “go again into Judea,” Thomas was not going to let Him go alone. Let us all go and die with Him!

As we step into the month of September, the month of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother, we turn to her example of pro-active power of silence. Cardinal Sarah describes the example of the power of Mary’s silence:

1. Through her fiat: Noiselessly, Mary offers her life to the Will of the Eternal Father. The power of her silence through her fiat enabled the birth of the saviour.

2. Under the Cross: Mary offers the sacrifice of Calvary along with her son in total silence. The power of her silence under the cross became the model and path to our participation in Christ’s sacrifice.

3. During the Pentecost: Mary strengthens the frightened disciples through her silent presence and prayer with them. The power of her silent prayer facilitates the birth of the Church.

We seek the patronage of our Blessed Mother, as we joyfully celebrate her nativity, that the power of silence may become evident in our hearts, families and parishes.

I wish you all a very happy feast of our Blessed Mother. God bless you!

 

With prayerful wishes,

 

Most Rev. George Antonysamy

Archbishop of Madras - Mylapore