Jesus often headed off to “deserted” places to pray, “teaching us how to seek the Father who speaks to us in silence,” the pope said.
“The desert is a place to get away from the racket that surrounds us. It is the absence of words in order to make room for another word, the Word of God, who like a light breeze, caresses the heart,” he said.
Just as Jesus spent time in the desert, he said Catholics must spend Lent creating similarly sparse surroundings and a “healthy environment of the heart.”
These places need a thorough “cleaning,” he said, because “we live in an environment polluted by too much verbal violence, by so many offensive and harmful words, which the internet amplifies.”
People today lob insults with the same frequency and nonchalance as if they were saying “hello,” he said.
“We are buried under empty words, advertisements, devious messages,” the pope said. “We are used to hearing everything about everybody and we risk slipping into a worldliness that atrophies the heart. And there is no bypass (surgery) to fix that, only silence.”