In my earlier post on 'Contemplation and the Active Apostolate' I quoted Pope John Paul II's statement that he believed that : "the future of mission depends to a great extent on contemplation. Unless the missionary is a contemplative he cannot proclaim Jesus in a credible way." Thinking about it, it seems to me that this is a pretty incredible statement! I simply had no idea that Pope John Paul felt so strongly about the role of contemplation in the mission of the Church.
I remember watching the Pope on TV at the many world youth conventions that he attended. It always amazed me how many young people were there and how enthusiastic they were. There seemed to be something about the Pope that was irresistible to the youth of the Church. Is it possible that he was a mystic, a contemplative? That this is what drew them? I remember the many times the camera panned to him, and his eyes were closed and he was holding his large crucifix in a tight grip. Was he in deep prayer?
I think he was! One of the reasons for my belief is because silence seems so important to me in establishing a relationship with Christ. If we don't listen to Him, if we don't pause in silence to let His Spirit inform us, how can we ever hope to be a contemplative? In his Apostolic Letter, Roasrium Virginis Mariae, Pope John Paul II says: "A discovery of the importance of silence is one of the secrets of practicing contemplation and meditation. One drawback of a society dominated by technology and the mass media is the fact that silence becomes increasingly difficult to achieve." The fact that Pope John emphasizes silence speaks eloquently to me of his appreciation of how to foster our relationship with Jesus.