By Susan Gately - 26 May, 2017
We have to break the vicious circle of anxiety resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news’, says Pope in World Communications message.
Pope Francis has focused on the “humblest of virtues” – hope – in his message for World Communications Day this Sunday.
Through access to the media, countless people can share and spread news instantly. This news may be good or bad, true or false.
The early Christians compared the human mind to a constantly grinding millstone, he writes. “Our minds are always ‘grinding’, but it is up to us to choose what to feed them.”
Addressing those who communicate for a living or in their personal relationships, he urges people to “engage in constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter.
“We have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news’ (wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure).” This does not mean ignoring bad news, he says, but working to overcome the feeling of “growing discontent” that can generate “fear or the idea that evil has no limits”.
He warns too that people’s consciences can be dulled where “the tragedy of human suffering” turns into entertainment.
“I would like, then, to contribute to the search for an open and creative style of communication,” he continues, that concentrates on solutions and inspires its recipients. “I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart ‘good news’”.
Life is a history, says Pope Francis, and reality has “no one clear meaning”, depending rather on the lens through which we look at things. “If we change that lens, reality itself appears different.”
For us Christians, the lens can only be the good news – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus himself. It is not good news because it has nothing to do with suffering, “but rather because suffering itself becomes part of a bigger picture”.
In Christ, God has shown his solidarity with every human situation, the Pope explains. “He has told us that we are not alone – for we have a Father who is constantly mindful of his children.”
In Christ, even darkness and death become a point of encounter with Light and Life. “Hope is born, a hope accessible to everyone, a hope that does not disappoint,” he writes.
Because God’s very love has been poured into our hearts, life blossoms and “every new tragedy that occurs in the world’s history can also become a setting for good news, inasmuch as love can find a way to draw near and to raise up sympathetic hearts, resolute faces and hands ready to build anew”.
Confidence in the seed of God’s Kingdom and in the mystery of Easter should shape the way we communicate, writes Pope Francis. This confidence enables us to carry out our work with the conviction that it is possible to recognise and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person.
Those who, in faith, entrust themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, come to realise how God is present and at work in every moment of our lives and history, patiently bringing to pass a history of salvation. The Holy Spirit weaves sacred history with the thread of hope. We read “reprints” of the Gospel in the lives of saints, icons of God’s love in the world.
“Today too, the Spirit continues to sow in us a desire for the Kingdom, thanks to all those who, drawing inspiration from the Good News amid the dramatic events of our time, shine like beacons in the darkness of this world, shedding light along the way and opening ever new paths of confidence and hope,” he concludes.