Reverent silence

Reverent silence

Rosemary Chandler

I write in support of Sr Mary Augustine's excellent article (February AD2000). The very paragraph which Rosanna Sherman (April AD2000) finds questionable is the one which, I think, is most thought-provoking

If I understand Sister Augustine, it is more the proliferation of so-called devotional groups that she is alluding to and which I too find disturbing.

There are the piles of little pieces of paper one finds in churches, for example, "9 each day for 9 days"; and St Jude is guaranteed to answer our prayers.

This does not honour the Saint but borders on superstition, as are the cringe-inducing thanks to this or that saint published in the secular press, the flocking to weeping statues and an eagerness for sensational events when we have, each day in our churches, the most miraculous happening imaginable in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Then there is the loud recitation of prayers before and after Mass with little chance of a reflective preparation or thanksgiving for others. On the other hand, recently I was at the Redemptorist Monastery in Perth. The Rosary, mercifully without the irritating pious accretions which have become commonplace, was commenced half an hour before Mass, which meant it was recited unhurriedly and prayerfully, giving us ten minutes silence before Mass. It was beautiful.

There must have been something seriously amiss in the 1950s for the spectacular exodus from the Church of that very generation and its offspring.

Michael Gilchrist (May AD2000) reported a survey which told us that, of those believing that the Eucharist truly is the Body and Blood of Christ, "only 46 per cent of 15-17 year old Mass attenders accepted this doctrine, whereas 81 per cent of those over 56 did so."

This 81 per cent said they believed, but how many of them really do? Why is it that these very people, the grey brigade (of which I am one), so often show, by irreverence, that we really do not believe that Christ, the eternal Son of God, is truly present?

Instead of showing our young people by our silence and reverence that we have this treasure in our churches, we just lament their drifting away and blame everyone and everything else.

Our late beloved Holy Father several times asked us to restore the contemplative dimension of Holy Mass and to observe a reverential silence and awe in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I believe it is imperative that we do so.

Palmyra, WA

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