Collegiate Church
of St. Paul the Apostle


Realm Giving

Diocesan Site

The Importance of Silence

We live in a world full of noise. It assaults us wherever we go. It is so much a part of daily life inAmericathat when we are exposed to silence most of us become nervous in less than one minutes time. From its earliest days Christianity has believed that in silence we are given the opportunity to meet the sacred. Among other things silence reminds us that no words can adequately express the mystery of God or fully express the mind of God. In fact everything we try to say falls short of the reality that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Quiet has a special place in God’s design. It can be the place where we sense God’s presence at the deepest levels of the heart. At designated times in the Mass quiet is encouraged – look closely at the rubrics in the Book of Common Prayer. We

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are called by the rubrics to fall silent before we offer prayers, to reflect on Scripture and to thank God for the Eucharist. The most important time of silence however is kept before the start ofMass.It is not only commendable but it is fitting that silence be observed throughout the church. Silence can be the means by which we transition from the corporeal realities of this life and move into the world of Eucharistic celebration – a place where our time and concerns meet the time and vision of God. Through the Eucharist God not only makes us present to “Jesus once and for all sacrifice on the cross” but the Holy Spirit brings us into the very presence of eternity itself. Silence is the space in the Eucharist which encourages us to receive anew the benefits of our Lord’s “blessed passion, precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension.” Only when we take some time to dwell in silence is space cleared in our lives and hearts to render hearty thanks for the innumerable gifts and benefits which are ours from the creator. Silence keeps us aware that worship is not entertainment but that which we owe God. It prepares us to take our rightful place in the Liturgy, as engaged concelebrants with the gathered children of God. The songs we will sing, the prayers we will offer, the scriptures we will hear, along with the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving we will make, initiated by silence moves us from an attitude of memory to that of Re-Member-ing. Furthermore, the presence of Jesus Christ, who comes to us in the sacrament of His Body and Blood to nourish us at each and every Mass, can make our silences pregnant with expectation. Ultimately, God’s holiness renders us speechless and in quiet we can sense the presence of God more deeply than in sound. In silence that expectation learns to desire the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom. Through quiet contemplation we become familiar with the grammar of a Kingdom which will be accomplished only when we open ourselves fully to the service of our neighbor. WWIII