The Conversion of Saint Paul is always a special feast day for me, but this year it has special poignancy because Pope Francis’ Message for World Communications Day this year seems to me to be a personal and community invitation to “convert” our communication.
For some time, I’ve known what this message confirms for me: I’m a great “hear-er,” but not so great of a listener—which is essential to any communication. Below I’ve posted my prayer for a much-needed conversion in how I communicate—both interpersonally and digitally—based on the Message. It can be used as a prayer or as an examination of conscience. While I will use it today during my Hour of Adoration, I’m planning to re-visit it during future retreats. I think there is something for every communicator to reflect on in his message, which encourages us to speak the truth in love, with merciful love.
Prayer To Become a Better Communicator
Jesus, living Image of the Father of Mercies, help me to make mercy the distinctive trait of all I am and do, so that my every word and gesture expresses God’s compassion, tenderness, and forgiveness for all.
Father of Mercies, You placed us all on this earth to journey towards the fullness of life in Christ. As a communicator, our primary task is to communicate the truth with love. Bless our every act of communication so that, by selecting our words and gestures with care, we can build bridges, enable encounter and inclusion, and enrich society. Teach us in our communication to avoid misunderstanding and to contribute to healing wounded memories and building peace and harmony.
May mercy so shade our thoughts and speech that the truth we speak, leads us away from judgment, separation, exclusion, or competition, instead leading all towards conversion, freedom, respect, and unity.
Lord, above all we pray for the gift to listen—a unique form of martyrdom where we renounce closed-mindedness and defensiveness, removing our sandals to stand on the “holy ground” of encounter with the one who is speaking to us. Teach us how to listen, a listening that means acceptance, true understanding, and paying attention: sharing questions and doubts, journeying side by side, and banishing all claims to absolute power and superiority.
Lord, touch all communication with Your own power. We pray in a special way for those who lead and those who form the opinions of others, that they may speak the truth to uplift the oppressed and guide troubled peoples toward reconciliation. We pray that they will have the courage avoid the temptation to exploit differences, stirring up mistrust, fear, and hatred. We pray for harmony in our world, that the vicious circles of condemnation and vengeance can be transformed into circles of dialogue, openness, freedom, and respect, so that our human family may be healed and draw closer to each other as true brothers and sisters. Amen.