The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20
There is a longing in the human soul for stillness, rest, and quiet. There are certain environments which allow this longing to come to fruition. Three things that come to mind: a private room in your house, nature, and the church. In this reflection I would like to focus on the third – the church as a place of silence.
As we prepare for the consecration to Mary and with Advent just around the corner it is a good time to remind ourselves that the church is a sacred place: a place set apart for God where silence and beauty reign. The silence that fills the church is a favourable environment to intimate communion with God which is our deepest desire. This communion with God allows us to have an interior life and thus continue to journey towards God as we can hear him speak in the depths of our heart. As Saint John of the Cross says
“What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our desires and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.”
Our church, like Mary, should be a place where this “silent love” is cultivated. As important as fellowship and community are, we should always give primary importance to prayer while in a church. As a community let us put effort into creating this atmosphere: when entering the church and leaving, silencing our cell phone, not speaking to our neighbors or if we must speak speaking then in a whisper, etc. Also, do not hesitate to schedule visits to the church for prayer and meditation. I can only encourage you as well to spend time after mass in silent thanksgiving; it is a wonderful time to cultivate that spirit of gratitude and of the silent presence of God that can permeate our being.