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Without Reverent Silence, Nothing Else We Do Will Be Of Any Value
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A Forgotten Truth: 'The Blessed Sacrament is that Presence which makes a Catholic Church different from every other place in the world; which makes it, as no other place can be, holy.' - St. John Henry Cardinal Newman
A Catholic Church must be unlike any other building in the world because God resides there. A Catholic Church is holy ground. All who enter must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with being in the Presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We must enter, remain and exit it in reverent and total silence. God deserves nothing less.
In far too many of our Catholic parishes, we have lost the sense of the sacred and an appreciation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that are both essential for fostering and maintaining a belief in the Real Presence. We have forgotten how to pray.
We have forgotten how to act while we are in Church and no one teaches or corrects us. Many ignore He Who is Love to engage in inane chatter on topics more appropriately discussed at social and sporting events. The actions and demeanor of so many souls are inconsistent with one who professes to believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present on the altar and in their hands.
We proclaim that the sanctuary and naves of our Churches are holy ground but we seldom act in a manner consistent with such a belief. We allow them to be used for non-sacred purposes -- secular movies, concerts of non-liturgical music, and slide shows highlighting various life events in our high school graduates. We permit non-Catholics to use our Churches without instructing them and having them respect the reverent silence to be maintained in the presence of our Lord. Now, most egregiously, we allow raucous, disrespectful and blasphemous wakes to be held in our Church prior to Funeral Masses, just feet from our Lord imprisoned in His tabernacle. Bedlam, not reverence. reigns supreme. This is no way to treat our God.
"This irreverence and lack of sacred silence is not of God."
As James Monti noted in his recent column entitled Reverence as A Way of Life In Church and Beyond: 'Satan is the father of irreverence. He hates the sacred, and so he seeks to hurl against the sacred all that can desecrate it. Art that makes the human face and form hideous, music that make life and love ugly, immodest clothing that blaspheme against the Temple of the Holy Spirit, architecture that makes man crawl on his belly rather than raise his eyes to Heaven all suit Satan's purposes quite well.'(The Wanderer, March 21, 2019).
We state that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith but act like â€˝social justice" (whatever that is) is the be all and end all. We welcome the suggestion of a Catholic author that â€˝we become the best version of ourselves that we can be," instead of challenging Catholics to strive toward their authentic calling -- to become more Christ-like so as to lead many more souls into the eternal embrace of our Triune God. We rarely encourage daily visits to the Blessed Sacrament. We lock our Church doors denying access to any soul who might wish to do so. Rarely do we offer Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament or encourage prolonged periods of Eucharistic Adoration.
This has got to change. It is time for action.
We need more holy priests whose daily lives are centered on the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and a personal Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament, who willingly embrace their obligation to be "another Christ" (not a political activist, community organizer or "Sacramental Minister"), who work tirelessly for the salvation of souls, for their own sanctification and for that of all the souls entrusted to his care, and who attempt to prevent sacrilegious Communions by lovingly reminding those who are not in a state of grace to refrain from approaching the altar.
We have allowed the secular culture to dictate our conduct in Church. That was and always will be an error. It is the Church's sacred duty to impact our secular culture.
Bottom line: There should be absolutely no unnecessary talking in Church. None! Ever! We all must enter and leave the naves of our Churches in absolute, reverent silence. No Exceptions. The talking and socializing must wait until we are in the vestibule or physically outside the Church. What talking that does occurs must be in whispered soft voices and for the briefest of time. This is not subject to debate. This is the Truth which we have been too often unwilling or fearful to teach to those many Catholics who don't know it, have been misled or who have lost their Faith.
We must remind all souls that to violate the sacred silence and reverence owed our Lord is a big deal. As uncomfortable as this may make many of us feel, it is a sin. It is an offense to God and neighbor.
This Truth can be and is being taught clearly and lovingly. Here is an example of one priest's effort to address this problem:
'... when we are in the presence of this unique kind of Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament, either on the altar or reserved in the tabernacle, we should maintain a proper silence. Talking in church should be limited to brief greetings, spoken in a hushed voice. Although there are obvious exceptions to this rule, exceptions pertaining to the conduct of practical matters in the service of church life -- for example, the need to talk during choir and wedding rehearsals, liturgical training sessions, when cleaning in the church with other workers, and so on -- in general carrying on conversations in church as one would in other places is very disrespectful and irreverent, and such behavior saddens the Lord and his Mother greatly (my emphasis). The real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament reserved in a Catholic church is itself a call from heaven to behave there as the angels behave in the presence of the holiest of holies -- and, to be sure, angels are invisibly present, adoring the Blessed Sacrament unceasingly, in every Catholic church. Mary, for this reason, wants us to practice reverent silence at all times when we are in church, after Mass as well as before, and to come there, the sacred house of God, to adore and worship her Son truly present, body and blood, soul and divinity, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Let all mortal flesh keep a reverent silence before the Blessed Sacrament as do the angels! By this reverent silence we dispose ourselves to receive the graces the Lord wishes to bestow upon us during our time in church, his house of prayer.'
If we do not get this task right, if we are unable or afraid to plant this truth in the hearts of all those professing to be Catholic, nothing else we do we will be of any value.
My blog where I promote zeal for the salvation of souls, awe and amazement for the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration, and fidelity to the Truths of our Catholic Faith.
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