More about Silence

I just read a post by a young woman talking about the “quiet” of the Catholic Church as opposed to the Presbyterian church she recently visited in the South.

One of her comments really struck me. She said “I think if we actually believed that Christ was there, all our attention would be focused on Him”. I don’t think she meant this to be a question of Catholic teaching, it was a personal question for us to consider invidually. Our Catholic faith tells us HE is really there. We know this and it’s the reason we offer the sacrifice of the Mass to Him. I admitted I would remember her comment the next time I felt the urge to be “chatty” (see my previous post) in church.

My children attend Catholic Grammar School and families join them for First Friday Mass each month. It’s so exciting as the children enter the church, there are hundreds of smiles, giggles, feet stomping, kneelers falling and a restlessness you can actually feel. There is quite a bit of “Shushing” going on too. The entire Student Body is then reminded that they are in the presence of our Lord and should remain quiet and in prayer. I think that might be what has gotten lost over the years, prayer before Mass begins. Mass was not intended to be a place to “catch-up”. We come to church to give thanks to the Lord and participate in the Eurcharist.

Catholics are often considered “unwelcoming” to other Christians and maybe that’s because we do behave differently while at Mass. It’s wonderful to see the groups of people gathered outside the Church after Mass saying hello, shaking hands even giving one another hugs. We are friendly. We are supportive of each other. I won’t include those that almost run you over getting out of the parking lot to be first in line at the bakery (that’s where I assume they’re headed anyway).

Does your parish have a gathering center that people meet after Mass? My parish hosts Hospitality Sunday gathering once per month but I bet there are some that do this weekly? Would you like your church community to offer something like this?

I’m thankful that I was given this rather gentle reminder to reconsider my reverance while in the church, both before and after Mass. I hope this might be an Advent reflection for you as well.