Listening is the first step in evangelization, the newly-appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said Tuesday in Quezon City.
“Evangelization is communication. God is a God who communicates, who dialogues. But He is also a God who listens,” Cardinal Luis Tagle said Dec. 10, according to ABS-CBN News.
He was speaking during a meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, which included the groundbreaking of the Veritas Asia Institute of Social Communications.
Cardinal Tagle encouraged a “spirituality of listening, to God, to neighbors and to the signs of the times.”
“Listening comes first,” he stated. “Many people are longing for someone and a community to listen. Even if you have no words, you communicate your presence, your compassion, your unity.”
The cardinal commented that “we are all in a hurry, rushing to say something, to issue a statement even when we have not heard yet. We have already something prepared without knowing what the question or statement is.”
He added that the Church needs people “who generate greater trust and confidence, as “in our world today [there is] so much fear, suspicion and prejudice. We don’t know whom to trust. We need people who can generate that atmosphere of trust.”
Cardinal Tagle also reflected that “having a beautiful building in itself does not guarantee evangelisation; it is the training and formation of people,” saying that “some of the most memorable catechetical lessons were learned under a tree” when he was a child. “If I were asked where we had these catechetical lessons, I could not name any building. Children were gathered. We had cookies. We had candies. And we came to the lessons.”
The cardinal, who is 62, was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples Dec. 8. He had served as Archbishop of Manila since 2011.
He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Imus at age 24, and was appointed bishop of that see in 2001.