Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, Why are you here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:11-13)The period of silence that follows the distribution and reception of Holy Communion (as noted in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal #88) is a time for giving thanks to God and asking for the strength to be Christ in our world of family, work, and community in the days ahead (Liturgy Brisbane). How many of our Catholic families know and appreciate this? The gifts of piety and reverence require both an understanding of what is taking place and a relationship with God. How easy it is to expect seasonal Catholics to have such knowledge and look sideways in disapproval or at worst, scold the unchurched congregation or students into silence. Instead of pointing the finger, perhaps we should be asking ourselves how to make the beauty of silence more available, accessible and valued in our busy lives. Copyright 2019 Nathan Ahearne. All rights reserved.[/caption] As the success and popularity of the mindfulness and meditation movement spreads across Australian schools, can liturgists return to these contemplative Christian practices for inspiration? I experienced one parish where the lights were turned off after Communion to signal a few minutes of contemplation before concluding the Mass and entering back into the world of hustle and bustle. Fr. Dominic Grassi and Joe Paprocki remind us that at the end of Mass we are sent forth to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord”; to break the silence and proclaim the good news of Jesus in our words and actions. Can we endure the wind, earthquake and fire to hear the gentle whisper of God in our lives?
Copyright 2019 Nathan Ahearne
About the Author
Nathan Ahearne's faith journey has helped to shape the person he is today as husband, father, teacher and formator of young people. His vocation and faith are strengthened and nourished by those he encounters in service and contemplation. Nathan is a creative thinker and likes to roll up his sleeves and see projects through to completion. He is a John 10:10 fan. Read more at Expressions of Interest.