is to be observed at various times during the liturgy, namely before
Mass to create a reverent atmosphere, at the Penitential Rite, during
the Liturgy of the Word, before the Opening Prayer, the Prayer over the
Gifts and the Prayer after communion, and for a time after communion.
Silence in a church with a full
assembly is a virtual impossibility; an atmosphere of quiet rather than
of stone cold silence is much more attainable and desirable. The silence
we strive for before mass is different from the quiet experienced when
we are all asked to pray together, yet silently.
A communal silence is full of
sound; those of people settling in the pews, arranging hymnals, opening
missalettes, pulling down kneelers or putting them back up, small
children with their needs and little protestations.
Silence during the readings is one in which
we focus our attention to the message being proclaimed. God is speaking
to us in the here and now, we are not only being quiet we are engaging
in active listening.
Silence after we have all received
communion is different still. We are satisfied having sung and prayed
the whole Mass, and need a little time now to quietly commune with the Lord. (January 15, 2006)
For more please see: What are the Appropriate Times for Silence?