A Lack of Silence

Or, “I wish the walking bass would walk out the church door”

My wife and I were discussing all sorts of things today, but one topic that came up is the lack of silence, especially the quiet that allows one to focus on prayer.  This particular thread started from the realization that while our kids know the words for prayers, actual prayer only takes place by happenstance.  For us, too, it can be hard to focus in and actually pray, rather than just go through the motions and say the words.  Of course, four kids equals ample opportunity for distraction unless you get up early or stay up late (which are my particular tricks, along with while commuting to and from work or waiting for meetings to start).

We see this in the church we attend.  The choir continues to try to keep up with the Pentecostals and other protestant denominations by using “Praise and Worship” music rather than hymns or, even, the actual parts of the mass.  In the past few months, they’ve added a full drum kit and an electric bass.  The keyboardist continues to get creative with which instrument voices he uses.  Sigh.  Even if you chalk all this up to a matter of taste (although the fact that they haven’t sung the actual words of the Gloria in the two years we’ve been here gives you an idea that it might be more than just stylistic differences), the lack of silence for prayer during the mass is really troubling.  Today’s specific example is that they strung together three songs for during the offertory, rather than playing a simple hymn and letting the congregation pray to collect themselves for the Consecration.  Also, the time after communion is filled with songs and music (sometimes even legitimate Catholic hymns!), rather than allowing people to dwell in the mystery and to pray deeply.

So, back to family.  If the liturgy doesn’t give us opportunities or examples of holy silence, it makes it doubly or triply important to have those opportunities in the home.  And we’re just not there yet.  We did talk with our kids about ways to wait quietly, and that every moment does not need to be filled with chatter.  The hope is that as they develop the practice of quiet waiting, they will be ready to hear the voice of the Lord in the whisper of a gentle breeze (1 Kings 19:12).

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4 thoughts on “A Lack of Silence

  1. Having come from this movement of most of my life then converting to the Church, I fought this in my Church. I fought it hard. I told our Bishop and Priest, “I will worship Jesus under a tree before I get dragged back into this mess!” The thing of it is I meant it, and they knew it. It is no longer in our Church. There are many, many hidden dangers in the Charismatic movement. May I suggest you Google children die parents had gift of faith. This is one of many of them. Also Google the dangers of the Charismatic movement.

    Our youth need all of this like they need a hole in their heads! If it does not stop before we know it, it will be all about the subjective experience one has and our Church Doctrine and teachings will be out the door. Do not even think about the “quiet.” That will disappear also, as people begin to dance, shout, jump up and down and run around the Church.

    I rose up, I fought it and I got rid of it. I have also done a few post on it on my blog. I have given the history of the movement, just go to my recent post. We as the adults need to stop this and stop this fast. The Church is headed in a very dangerous direction. I know first hand how empty this movement is and how empty it leaves one. God Bless, SR

    • I don’t disagree that the charismatic movement can be dangerous to the Church. This is much more of a comment on the choir trying to emulate their music, not realizing that doing so runs counter to the ethos of the sacrifice of the mass (that is, they’re putting the focus on humans rather than focusing us on God). Fortunately, the priests are incredibly reverent and the congregation is likewise–it’s clear they believe in the True Presence. That said, the music is distracting and detracts from our ability to pray properly.

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