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Friday, February 27, 2009

Sacred Silence

Tonight began the annual Lenten practice of Stations of the Cross followed by Mass. I usually try to get there early for some quiet time in Adoration, but today I was delayed so my time was shortened. 

The prayers of the Stations spoke profoundly to me tonight, so for a good portion of it, I could not speak, only follow along, silently, trying not to cry.  

Mass was beautiful, although after Communion, I had great difficulty praying.  It didn't matter. I didn't want to be anywhere else but right there, in that moment...with Our Lord. 

After Mass, however, as usual, people immediatly leapt up and began chatting, a particular group near me especially loudly.  I was kneeling at the time, trying to pray, as were some others in the church.  For a moment, I nearly snapped at them to please take their conversation elsewhere, but decided to hold my tongue, choosing to offer it up, if imperfectly in my impatience. 

The reality is that people don't know any better anymore.  Snapping at them out of the blue doesn't tend to be constructive or conducive to proper education.  

Even when everyone had left the church, they stood in the "Gathering Space" chatting loudly, allowing their children to run through the crowds screaming, and I nearly fainted with relief when they FINALLY closed the doors!   Although it didn't do much to help. 

We have a Perpetual Adoration chapel, but I couldn't go there because the rosary was being prayed as is usual after Mass. 

All I wanted was silence.  After the devotions of Stations of the Cross, after Mass, was it too much to ask to have profound silence in the presence of Christ in order to continue a conversation that was barely begun? 

Then they turned down the lights in the main church, and I quickly turned, but was relieved to see others were there craving the same silence I was, likely just as perturbed at the lack.  They weren't budging. 

I did get up and walk to the back of the Church, praying for silence, wanting to remain, but unable to handle the noise.  Yet I couldn't leave, so I dropped my coat and bag and knelt in the last pew, in tears, not wanting to go. I told Jesus just that...that I didn't want to leave. 

And silently, in that way He has, He said, "Then come to me."  

I couldn't go into the chapel...they were still in the midst of the rosary devotions.  

Finally, unable to resist any longer, I stood, left my things, and walked the long pathway towards the front of the Church and the Tabernacle, which was, but for the flickering candle, in complete darkness.  And there, finally, far away from the squwalking crowds, I could rest in relative silence, almost alone with Jesus. 

I knelt on the bare tile floor, knowing His presence as He waited, where He always waits, patiently...for us.  

I will not say what I said, or what I did, or what He said to me. Suffice to say it was precious time, an eternal moment, one in which I wished I could remain.  Nothing mystical, nothing amazing.  Just...Our Lord, allowing me to take some time, pouring myself out at His very feet, knowing He could hear all the words I couldn't speak.  

Resting in the silence...let it always be so profound. 


uncle jim said...

i pray everyone takes a chance to experience what you did more often

Anonymous said...

It is a sad reality that people are not treating our church with the sacredness it deserves.

this ongoing talking is truly most annoying and disrespectful to our Lord and master who is present in the tabernacle.

i wish our priest would put a stop to this outrageous conduct and remind all of how holy and special our church is.

L. said...

I read your post with complete agreement and even further I would love some silence during Mass.....instead of the continuous music and singing each prayer, I want to meditate on the sacred mysteries which are taking place on the altar, I'd like to pray silently, and yes, I would like to sing an opening, communion, and closing hymn, but that's never enough for Mass these days. Oh for some silence!

Adoro said...

Uncle Jim ~ If there was silence...people would!

Fernando ~ I wish ALL priests would put a stop to the noise!

Laura ~ It seems we can't do anything without cover music. There's no silence, anywhere! :-(

Anonymous said...

You mention the chatter in the gathering space after Mass...

One morning after daily Mass I was with a group that was chattering. We had a visiting priest - whom after Mass, knelt and prayed. Amazing...his devotion and prayerfulness was moving. Everyone stopped the chatter and prayed.

He had modeled that prayer life we were so missing.