Communication and Family

Manila Bulletin, June 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Communication and Family


Most discussions on communication have centered on its ethical dimensions, the impact on young people, how it is used to influence or direct opinion on matters affecting the economy and the general public, etc. On this matter, I would like to focus on communication in the context of family, having as reference and sharing Pope Francis' message for the 49th World Communication Day, which most of us may not have read.

Pope Francis points out that it is in the family that we first learn how to communicate. His message also has as point of reference the two Synods - the extraordinary assembly last year and the ordinary assembly taking place in October this year - in which the family is the subject of profound reflection.

The Holy Father shows us that communication is a dialogue intertwined with the language of the body, reflecting that the womb which hosts us is the first "school" of communication, a place of listening and physical contact where we begin to familiarize ourselves with the outside world within a protected environment, with the reassuring sound of the mother's heartbeat. He says that this encounter between two persons (mother and baby), so intimately related but distinct from each other, is our first experience of communication.

After coming into the world, we remain in a sense in the "womb" of the family, "where we learn to live with others despite our differences" (Evangelii Gaudium, 66). Family members accept one another because there is a bond among them -- this bond is at the root of language - and is at the heart of the family's ability to communicate among its members and with others.

This enables the family to become the setting in which the most basic of communication - prayer - is handed down. According to Pope Francis, it is in our families that the majority of us learned the religious dimension of communication, which in the case of Christianity is permeated with love, the love that God bestows upon us and which we then offer to others.

In the family we learn to support one another, to discern the meaning of facial expressions and moments of silence, to relate with others. Pope Francis says that the meaning of communication is that of recognizing and creating closeness, lessening distances by growing closer and accepting one another. Because of this we experience gratitude and joy. The Holy Father relates the greeting of Elizabeth when Mary visited her, and the infant in Elizabeth's womb leapt for joy. …

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