August 29, 2011

CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY — Getting off the grid and leaving behind the city is a great way to bring some much-needed silence to one's life, Pope Benedict said.

"Silence is the condition of one's surroundings that best fosters contemplation, listening to God and meditation," he said Aug. 10 at his weekly general audience.

"Just the fact of being able to enjoy silence, to let oneself, as it were, be 'filled' by silence, predisposes us to prayer," the pope said.

Many people spend a few days at a monastic community or spiritual centre, which, as "places of the spirit, are a backbone of the world," he said.

Monastic communities have been built in beautiful places that are close to nature, he said.

Such places, the pope said, bring together two important elements: the beauty of creation and the Creator, and silence that comes from "being far from the city and major channels of communication."

"God speaks in silence; however, it's necessary to know how to listen to him. For this reason monasteries are oases in which God speaks to humanity."