Those who today read the "ever-thicker" commentaries on the Gospels often still end up "disappointed" he said, because they learn "a lot that is useful about those days and a lot of hypotheses that ultimately contribute nothing at all to an understanding of the text."
"In the end you feel that in all the excess of words, something essential is lacking: entrance into Jesus's silence, from which his word is born," he said, adding that "if we cannot enter into this silence, we will always hear the word only on its surface and thus not really understand it."
Pointing to Cardinal Sarah's book, Benedict said the prelate "teaches us silence -- being silent with Jesus, true inner stillness, and in just this way he helps us to grasp the word of the Lord anew."
Although the cardinal rarely speaks of himself in the text, Benedict said his answers reveal the depth of his spiritual life.
In response to one of Diat's questions on whether in his life he has ever felt that words were too "cumbersome" or heavy, Cardinal Sarah responds by saying, "In my prayer and in my interior life, I have always felt the need for a deeper, more complete silence...The days of solitude, silence, and absolute fasting have been a great support. They have been an unprecedented grace."
This answer, Benedict said, makes visible "the source from which the cardinal lives, which gives his word its inner depth."
"From this vantage point, he can then see the dangers that continually threaten the spiritual life," he said, noting that this also goes for priest and bishops.
This threat endangers the Church as well, "in which it is not uncommon for the Word to be replaced by a verbosity that dilutes the greatness of the Word," Benedict said.
He then pointed to another passage of the book which he said is a good examination of conscience for every bishop: "It can happen that a good, pious priest, once he is raised to the episcopal dignity, quickly falls into mediocrity and a concern for worldly success."
"Overwhelmed by the weight of the duties that are incumbent on him, worried about his power, his authority, and the material needs of his office, he gradually runs out of steam," Cardinal Sarah said.
Benedict said that given the depth of Cardinal Sarah's own spiritual life, he is a "spiritual teacher" who, because of his silent prayer with God, has something to say to everyone.
(Story continues below)
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