Preparing in Silence
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has produced some useful material this year, one about death and bereavement and more recently on the place of silence in our churches and liturgies. This is a particularly good theme for the season of Advent as we wait in peace with Our Lady for the birth of Jesus.
The bishops quote St Teresa of Calcutta: The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace. And Pope St John-Paul II who recognised that there is not just a need for silence but also that it needs to be developed.
The bishops give some practical advice not only for people but for priests as well. Before the celebration itself, calm and quiet opportunities for silent prayer and reflection have their proper place in the church, in the sacristy and in adjacent areas so that those gathering for the assembly of the Church may recollect themselves and begin to prepare for prayer together. Providing opportunities for such calm and quiet is one of the many ways in which a community is able to show hospitality to those gathering for worship..... The Priest can set good example with his own personal preparation for the liturgy and his prayerful, dignified celebration of the liturgy.
The whole document can be read here.