Silence and Stillness in the Church
Stopping so God can start
Father David Jones
A good liturgy has moments of silence built into it for good reason. Daily, we need time to stand still and let God be God and let God move! Silence and stillness are important if we hope to give our self away to be used by God. It really is fairly simple. We stop so God can start. Lay down everything, forget about yourself and concentrate on HIM. That’s the reason for silence in the church.
Before prayer - The General Instructions of the Roman Missal advise us to get to church early so we can settle down and be silent and prepare for what is about to happen.
During Mass we are called to silence several times. First at the Penitential Rite when we stop to recall our sins, a hush should come over the church as each and all confess. God forgives quietly. He has no need for our sins to be splattered and gossiped. He just wants us to be free from sin so we can be glad and free to be in the service of the Lord.
Next when the celebrant says, “Let us pray” we should bow our heads and PRAY! After a suitable amount of time, the celebrant CONCLUDES the prayer with the prescribed COLLECT.
After the WORD of GOD, the Liturgy of the Word, it just makes sense to ponder all these things in our hearts, just like Mary, the Mother of God. It is so rich, so full, so much, it takes a little quiet time to squiggle, squirm, settle and find rest with the Lord is telling me and calling me to do. Truly the Lord speaks to my heart and the depth of my soul.
Perhaps the most GOLDEN SILENCE is observed after COMMUNION. This is not a time to get ready to leave; it is a time to get START LIVING with Christ Jesus. Everything has changed. My thoughts after COMMUNION ought to be the holiest moments of my day or week as I take the Lord with me! This requires my mind, my body and my soul saying YES LORD!!!
A little bit of silence in liturgy is there to make sure we digest as much of what GOD is giving as we can. The less distracted we are, the more we receive, the more we have to give! Mission accomplished!