As we continue to reflect upon the different natures of silence in the celebration of the Mass, today let us focus on the silence during the Penitential Rite and the Collect or the Opening Prayer. After gathering together as the visible Body of Christ, the Church, we make the sign of the cross together and the celebrant greets us. We are then invited to acknowledge our sins – those times we have failed to love God, our neighbour, and ourselves – so to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Mass. There is a brief pause for silence, where we have time to recollect ourselves and briefly reflect upon those aspects of our lives on which we have failed to love God, our neighbour, and ourselves in our thoughts, words, actions, whether by commission or omission. If we honestly acknowledge our wrong doings, God is indeed merciful and desires to share this mercy in abundance.
We then encounter another moment of silence when the priest invites the people to prayer. We specifically observe this silence so we may be conscious of God’s presence and that we may formulate our petitions or intentions privately. We all have different intentions we pray for that we bring before the Lord – for our families, our friends, our community, for the world, and for ourselves. This moment of silence allows us to do this. The celebrant prays a collective prayer which expresses the character of the celebration, whether it be the liturgical season, a solemnity, a feast or one of the saints. Silence is a vital aspect in our time of prayer. Some time, we do too much talking in our prayer, rather than just listening to what God is saying to us. Silence helps with this.
(Photo: Ana Dobeson)