Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

How sad it is that earlier today, I attended a concert where there was greater concentration given and attention paid by the audience than by some people at a Mass I attended on Saturday. I am pleased that the performer was given the silence which any musician deserves when performing, but it reflects badly on Catholics who talk to one another during Holy Communion. Not long ago, I heard a sermon given by a priest whom had invited an Orthodox lady to Solemn Mass, only to be told "Your people have no respect for the sacred, Father. They were talking to one another, parents were letting their children run around screaming, and a telephone went off". Unfortunately, that last item is something which many of us are all too familiar with these days.
Decidedly, one of the many things about the Traditional Roman Rite which I love dearly is the silent Canon. There is a very fine homily on this, which was given at the launch of CIEL UK.
Before Christmas, I was blessed with a very beautifully celebrated Missa Cantata. Somebody asked me afterwards: "How long was it?", to which I replied "I honestly don't remember, but there is no passage of time in Heaven, and we were given a glimpse of eternity." This is what the sacred liturgy must be rembered as : a foretaste of the Divine liturgy. Not something which is planned or suggested, but something which raises our minds to Heavenly things. And few things are as effective in this respect as silence is.

3 comments:

Oliver McCarthy said...

Yes, I remember that sermon as well. As for the homily, well, it wasn't the same priest!

Anonymous said...

I, too, remember that homily. My heart was in my mouth in case a mobile sounded as the story was being related.

I think congregations are more noisy because we are responding aloud, especially in those parishes where the sign of peace can be so UNpeaceful - the Tridentine Mass is silent and therefore more awesome.

Greatest spontaneous response after attending a Tridentine Mass:

when all the little ones (under 7 years of age) walked/ran to the altar step of the Little Oratory and knelt and prayed (at least had their hands joined) - I wish I had a camera at that point.

Andrew said...

You got me by posting the title of my favourite vernacular Eucharistic hymn. When I lead the novena, we sing this hymn when the Blessed Sacrament is processed from the tabernacle to the altar.

It's true that reverence is severely lacking these days. This of course stems from what we believe which in turn is influenced by how we pray.

Reverence at the altar translates downwards to the pews. If the priest is reverent, oftentimes, the people will be as well.