Golden Silence

Catholic_tabernacleWhen you first meet a new friend, you spend much time talking to each other. You have a lot of questions. What’s your name? Where do you live? What do you like to do?

As time goes on you get to know the person well and the need for asking questions lessens. In fact, you can tell when your friend is troubled just by the expression on their face. You have reached a point in your relationship where the non-verbal speaks as loud as the verbal conversation.

Beyond this, you find friends and couples who have known each other for decades. They can finish each other’s sentences, know what the other is going to say before they say it and can spend hours next to each other in silence and the time is wonderful.

To reach this stage of a relationship requires that you have truly spent time before with the other person as the center of your attention. Just being together,  hanging out, may not be enough if each of you is in your own little world oblivious of the person next to you. Yet today, all too often, that is exactly what happens as everyone is wired to their smartphone, iPod, etc. Or there is a video, a song, or some other event that has our attention.

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi or the Body and Blood of Christ. In some places, processions will occur with the Priest holding a Monstrance that contains the Host. The focus will be on Jesus. At Mass, always, the focus should be on Jesus. But is it?

Are we focused on Jesus or on the next hymn we are supposed to sing? Are we focused on Jesus or where we have to be after Mass? Do we recite the prayers concentrating on their meaning or have they become automatic responses without thought?

Do we find moments of silence unbearable?

To sit in a Church, in silence, and to allow ourselves to dwell on the True Presence in the tabernacle, to still our thoughts of our needs, our wants, our fears, and to try to hear Him who is truly present, is akin to the relationship of the couples who have lived together and grown together for decades.

It is not easy and will never become easy unless you put in the time. Mass attendance is of course vital. For Catholics, it is the required minimum. How long would a friendship last if each only did the minimum? Other forms of worship, like Benediction, are wonderful but there we are involved in a directed form of prayer that gives little opportunity for quiet reflection, the deep, wonderful silence that two close friends can share and even cherish.

Modern life is practically devoid of times of silence and many people say they need background noise, that it calms them. They are not comfortable with their own thoughts. Yet it was in the silence that Jeremiah heard the voice of God, not in the storm or the avalanche.

There is a God-shaped hole in our lives. He is calling out to us but can we hear Him above the background din? Try to find time to spend some quiet moments with Jesus in the tabernacle.It is a challenge! Many churches are locked for security but not all. Finding free moments is a challenge as well. But if you truly wish to spend eternity with Jesus then now is the time to begin. Even five minutes to start is a great beginning. He is there in the tabernacle waiting for you.

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