People need to listen more if they want there to be peace in the world, Pope Francis said.
Open “ears are missing, there’s a lack of people who know how to listen,” which is essential before there can be dialogue, he said during an audience on March 11 with volunteers for a national help hotline, Telefono Amico Italia.
“If only there were more dialogue — true dialogue, that is — in families, in the workplace, in politics, so many issues would be more easily resolved,” he told members of the association, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The helpline offers “an important service”, the Pope said, especially given the degree of isolation and indifference that exists in the world, particularly in large cities.
So much communication, he said, is increasingly “virtual and less personal” and the culture stresses “having and appearances” over solid values.
Listening is not a very common occurrence, he said. It requires being quiet — “mouth shut” — as well as being patient and attentive, he said.
God himself is the perfect example of a good listener, so take a cue from him when listening to someone in need, the Pope added.
This attitude of listening pushes people to “break down walls of misunderstanding, build bridges of communication, overcoming isolation and being closed up in one’s own little world,” he said.
Through dialogue, people with differences can start to see the other, not as a threat, but as “a gift of God,” who asks to be heard.