Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Some Sacred Silence

Dear Parishioners,
Before Sunday Mass this past weekend, I hid myself in the balcony to pray my rosary before Mass.  I prefer some extended quiet time before Holy Mass begins. 

Someone told me that Pope St. John Paul II would literally spend hours in prayer preparing to celebrate Mass.  It was said that he became oblivious to his surroundings, so deep was his spiritual communication with the Lord.
I dare not compare my self to such a holy man as St. John Paul II.  However, I do see the value of and the need for the time to prepare spiritually prior to Mass.  Sometimes I may be thinking about the readings from Sacred Scripture.  Other times I may be contemplating exactly what I am going to say in the homily.  Frequently, I think about the people that I want to remember to pray for during the Mass.  Perhaps I may be finishing some prayers committed to memory.  At other times I just want to be quiet, clam and reflective.
No matter what I may be doing at the particular moment, the time prior to Mass is really important for me to focus on the sacred mysteries about to be celebrated.
So, do not be surprised that I do not seem “talkative” or “conversational” prior to Mass.  Sometimes I have walked into the sacristy in my previous parishes and the topics of conversation ranged from politics to sports to the latest gossip.  I do not think that I am wrong in saying that there is a time and a place for everything--and for me, prior to Mass is not the place for small talk.  The pandemic restrictions have somewhat curtailed this small talk prior to Mass, but not entirely.  Please realize when I am preparing myself to celebrate sacred mysteries--to re-present the events of the Last Supper and the Agony and Death of Jesus on the Cross--I am trying to focus on what I am about to do.  Nothing else is more important to me at that time.

I also think that the same quiet, reflective time needs to be honored immediately after the reception of Holy Communion.  With the rearrangement of the reception of Holy Communion after the conclusion of Mass, I worry about the practice of people taking off right out the door after receiving Holy Communion.  It seems to be so contrary to what I have been instructing people for the past decades concerning the necessity of making a proper thanksgiving after receiving Our Lord.  I deliberately take time after Holy Communion, once everything is settled, just to be quiet and to pray.  It is also important to remember that the faithful should make a Spiritual Communion, if they are unable to receive Holy Communion for some reason.
Our society is noisy enough.  A little quiet time helps us to tune in better to the spiritual things around us.  Here is something to think about:

Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by.  There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kg. 19: 11-13a)
So please don’t think that I am rude, anti-social, or impersonal when I simply just want to be quiet and reflective.  Perhaps someone around you may feel the exact same way.   

The Lord is often found in the silence at the depths of the heart.
Fr. Ed Namiotka

1 comment:

  1. Perfect. Thank you for reminding us of this. Your writings never cease to inspire. Thank you for posting, so no matter where you go you will always feel close. God continue to bless you.
    Sean Rattle