ope Francis urged Catholics to
use the season of Lent to spend
less time immersed in the
chatter and noise of the world
through television and their phones,
and to spend more time in silence and
in conversation with God.
“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,” the pope said.
This penitential period, he continued,
is also the time to work on giving up
gossip, rumors, and useless chatter, fo-
cusing instead on giving yourself to the
Lord, who spent 40 days in the desert in
fasting and prayer.
During Lent, Jesus is “calling us into
the desert,” Francis explained. Jesus
“invites us to listen to what matters. To
the devil who tempted him, he replied:
‘Man does not live by bread alone, but
by every word that comes from the
mouth of God.’”
“Like bread, more than bread we need
the Word of God, we need to speak with
God: we need to pray,” he urged.
In his weekly general audience, which
fell on Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis
reflected on the “desert” of Lent and
how countercultural it is to spend time
in silence, away from the noisiness of
“We live in an environment polluted
by too much verbal violence, by many
offensive and harmful words, which the
internet amplifies,” he explained.
“We are inundated with empty words,
with advertisements, with subtle mes-
sages. We have become used to hearing
everything about everyone and we risk
slipping into a worldliness that atrophies
In this noise, “we struggle to distin-
guish the voice of the Lord who speaks
to us, the voice of conscience, of good,”
the pope said.