To the editor:
My response to the person (Catholic Courier, January: “Noise shows disrespect”) asking for the right for silent prayer and meditation before the tabernacle is manifold.
First, God’s true presence is not confined to a tabernacle. St. Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Church and renowned theologian, once said, ”God is existence, hence, God is present in everything that exist.” How does that speak to one’s belief and experience of who and where God is? Second, Vatican Two’s document on the Sacred Liturgy cites the four presences of the Liturgy and the first is in the gathering of the congregation. As far as I know, the document does not stipulate that the community must gather in silence. In fact, for some people it may be the one time that week they are able to see and talk with other community member, to catch up and share what’s going on with them. And isn’t that also part of the preparation for the Eucharistic celebration, sharing concerns, compassion, ourselves with and for others as Christ does for us?
Finally, as one who also practices silent prayer and meditation and thus appreciates the need for silence, might I make a suggestion? Try it at home prior to Mass. I’ve found it a wonderful preparation for the Eucharist as well as a big help in meeting the challenges and demands of daily life. I say these things not to offend or try to change one’s spirituality or spiritual practices, but to acknowledge there are many ways and many places to pray and God is truly present in every one of them. Perhaps, even in the noise!
North Union Street