Sounds of Silence


“We respond, by singing and praying to the God who addresses us, but the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence. It must, of course, be a silence with content, not just the absence of speech and action. We should expect the liturgy to give us a positive stillness that will restore us.” Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy

This past Sunday at Mass, while trying to focus on my after-Communion thanksgiving and having to endure a third Communion song, it struck me – what is wrong with silence?  Yes – the Mass is a communal Divine worship liturgy involving our external expressions.  However, it is ordered so that the laity has periods to listen, respond, sing and … reflect in reverential silence.  The quest for busyness and activity during the Mass impedes one of the ends of the Mass, to allow the quiet voice of God to be heard.  Do we really recognize and crave the blessing of “silence with content”?

Dan Burke penned this article expounding on how Satan can leverage this disruption to his advantage.  But more importantly, his questions about what we could do about it are worth pondering.

How can we cultivate silence in our parishes?

How can we lead people to the beauty found in a Mass that is faithful to the leading of the Holy Spirit as expressed in the GIRM?

One comment

  1. Didymus says:

    I would greatly love some quiet time after receiving the Eucharist, but we seem to be forever stuck with the 2nd Communion Hymn. I wonder sometimes if it’s primary role isn’t as a filler for the people who are impatient to get things “started up again” – like the old intermission music during long movies. I just do my best to pray through it. Could be worse though – polka Mass, anyone?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.