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In the post Memory of the presence I have tried to orientate towards a practical starting point for those who want to follow a path of spirituality that is serious, critical, in dialogue with the best of culture that we are able to know: primary origin of spirituality are people and silence. By this I intend to mean also what is possible to find in the greatest particular spiritualities spread in the world: both any spirituality of believers and any of atheists show that they have this in common: a fundamental attention to the human person and silence.

A subsequent practical attention that we can find in spirituality is towards the word: it is not simply a tool for communicating, but also a formidable vehicle for inner life, humanity, art, history, emotions. We can find this not only in three great religions which, among other things, are religions of the Word, I refer to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but also in the whole history of human culture; just think that we distinguish between history and prehistory precisely in reference to the archaeological possibility of tracing words, written texts.

The word, considered in the context of the spirituality that I outlined in the article Memory of the presence, is like a living container, capable of re-arousing ways of presence: when I read a letter, it is as if the author is magically evoked near me to speak to me; in this sense it is possible to have emotional contact even with people who have not been there for centuries or millennia. The question becomes particularly intriguing if we think that that person, far away over the centuries and the kilometers, who makes her most intimate emotions enter our hearts through her letter that has reached us, can be ourselves. In other words, the word not only has the power to put two people, even very distant from each other in time and space, in communication, but it also proves to be revealing, it is a treasure chest that can make us discover unexpected experiences: through my own word, written in my diary, once I have reflected on it, it may also happen that I realize how far away I am from myself, how many emotions there are in me that I myself do not notice, but that a careful reading of my own words is able to reveal me.

Now, not all of us have the same ability to extract from a word the universe it contains, on the contrary, nobody has these skills adequately: every specialist is able to highlight in a word aspects that complement and enrich what others specialists have managed to find out. In this post, from a point of view of attention to the practical, we will try to observe only one specific aspect. It is the fact that the word is able to bring with it its opposite, that is silence. In order for this to emerge, however, an operation similar to that described in article Memory of the presence will be necessary: as I said that, after having been with someone, it will be necessary to add a second moment of solitude and silence, in the same way, in order to be able to draw not only the explicit contents from a word, but also the silence that it conveys and can make us experience, it will be necessary to separate and listen to that word during a moment of silence. It is clear that in this way I have suggested another practical exercise that anyone can try to experiment for themselves: choose any short, suitable text, and try to meditate on it with this awareness.

In conclusion I point out that our era proves somewhat hostile to this type of attention to the word, especially as a bearer of silence: if we think of social networks, the smartphones that I now see used even while cycling, the fashions that try to make the speaker appear cool with a fast, pressing rhythm, and therefore without having allowed reflection time, neither to himself, nor to the listener, the fall of ideologies that has been exploited to propagate impoverished and hiccup ways of communicating, made of tweets and SMS, therefore without the thread of a prolonged, harmonious and calm speech, able to make people enjoy the depths, it is necessary to take note that today a conspiracy against the depth, grandeur and silence of the word, even if it is not consciously wanted, however, it is brought into being. The consequence is that today anyone who intends to embark on a serious path of spirituality will have to do so knowing that he is going along a road that, at least at the start, will be uphill, dry, even bristling with thorns. However, we must not be discouraged: in the history of humanity, many sensitivities have shown that they are able to make their way in the most adverse conditions and it is possible to savor the pride of having carried forward paths that help everyone’s growth.

Hello, everybody. This video is referred to the lesson, or we can say the post, the article, “Spirituality of the word”. In that article I explained mostly positive aspects of the word and, in the highest level, I referred also to the fact that the word is even worshipped, because, in the context of religions, it can be, it is considered the Word of God, it can be the Word of God, so Revelation. Now, in the video, I would like to do some counter balancing, that is, considering the opposite aspects of the word, that is, the word is able also to hide instead than to reveal; the word can veil and the word can even deceive us; the word can be false rather than showing the truth, rather than showing reality.

So, how can we manage this difficulty, considering that actually we don’t want to miss this so great treasure that is the word, that can be so deeply the object of meditation, contemplation, reflection and even, as I said, worship. A way that I think is very useful - and I have experienced it in a lot of contexts - is the hermeneutic, the perspective of weakness. We can just consider that words, as being a tool to communicate, words are a weak tool, because every tool is weak, like us human, we are weak. So, if words can be powerful, can be great, can enlighten our life, actually words can show all of their weakness. Weakness means not only humility, but really betraying, going against us, destroying and frustrating us. In this context we need to consider that weakness is to be considered in a radical way, that is, let’s say, word is able also to kill. So, the opposite sides can be said with these few words: word is able to give life, but word is able also to kill and this means that I can kill other people with my words and I can be killed as well with wrong interpretation, wrong thoughts, but just even because words, by their nature, are able to be ambiguous, are able to create distance from the truth rather than put us close to the truth. This makes life a bit with tension because, as I said, there are these extreme polarities, opposites, opposite sides, that is, a word can be worshiped, can be sacred, can be the Revelation of God, but word can be also false, can be something that kills either us or other people. As I said, the context of weakness can help us a lot. To say it in another way, we can say that the context can be considered walking, moving, going on, so that words should not be considered like something static, something solid, but they are moving, they are part of our history, our going on in our, in the way of our life and this can help us to put and to manage words in the correct way, in the correct perspective.

This means that for life we can manage words, words can give us spirituality if we manage them the correct way. In another perspective we might say that words should not be worshipped. This way I don’t want to go against religions, because I know that word is able - I’ve been a believer - word is able to be a Revelation of God for the believer. But we know that the Bible, for example, has a lot of problems exactly because it’s made of words. So, what’s the problem with worshipping, I would even say worshipping either the word or even God? The problem is that, when I worship, at a certain degree, what I’m worshiping is what I think that word is, what I think that God is, so actually frequently I’m worshiping my idea of God, my idea of the word. This is the problem with a wrong way of worshiping. So, even worship, in order to be something really fruitful and not an instrument for bad things, or to kill, should be practiced in the context of walking, weakness, going on, progressing, working continuously on everything. This is spirituality, this is able to make really the word something really a treasure, something precious, able to bring a lot of fruits in our life, so I wish you the best in managing words, in enjoying the treasures of words without forgetting the negative sides that actually, if considered in a correct way, like I said, weakness, walking, can be just another way to enjoy its great horizons and fruits. See you next time.