On Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis offered us some wise and practical advice for the season of Lent. He told us that during this holy season we should put down our cellphones and pick up our Bibles (obviously with the intention of reading them!). The Holy Father said, “Lent is the right time to make room for the Word of God. It is the time to turn off the television and open the Bible. It is the time to disconnect from your cell phone and connect to the Gospel.”
We live in a cacophonous world. Our lives are inundated with noise — so much so that many people find it difficult to function in an atmosphere of silence. Perhaps that’s why Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book on the “power of silence” has become so popular since its publication in 2016.
Pope Francis rightly noted that “we live in an environment polluted by too much verbal violence, by many offensive and harmful words, which the internet amplifies.” In the midst of all this noise, “we struggle to distinguish the voice of the Lord who speaks to us, the voice of conscience, of good,” the pope said.
If we want to be able to discern the will of God for our lives, if we want to know the Lord and ourselves better, if we want to find a measure of peace in a confusing and sometimes frustrating world, we need to meditate on the Word of God apart from the noise and distractions of this life.
So follow the Holy Father’s counsel, beginning this Lent: Pick up your Bible, and read it in silence — every day. (Hint: Start in the New Testament.) And remember to turn off your cell phone when you do — unless, of course, your Bible happens to be ON your cell phone.