Listen to the Silence

Vigil Mass

Let all mortal flesh keep silent, standing there in fear and trembling, let all things of earth vanish from our thoughts; for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ our God, is about to be sacrificed and to be given as food to the faithful. Before Him choirs of Angels go, clothed with power and dominion, with faces veiled, chanting the hymn, Alleluia. __ St. James Liturgy, 4th Century.

What is the value of silence? It is nothing, it is emptiness, it communicates nothing and yet by abiding in it we gain all, we find fullness and learn everything we must know; God Alone. It is the desire of the Church that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be observed and participated in with a certain type of spiritual quiet. The instruction for the Missal requires that a period of silence be observed after the hearing of the Gospel and also after the reception of the Eucharist. It allows us to quiet our spirits and meditate on the moment. We do not obtain this stillness in a conversation with our friends or in the waving and holding of hands in Mass. Nor do we find it by smiling at all our friends that we spot in church. It is found in interior solitude. The exterior stillness is only a help and a symbol to aid the soul who wishes to enter that moment. The St. James Liturgy, the oldest existing liturgy known to us, knew the value of the silence of which I speak, as you can quickly see from the excerpt above.

Silence is the ultimate reverence. It is the humility and homage that Christ should demand of us. And if He doesn’t, we should demand it of ourselves. It is an expression of true dignity, respect and worship. How dare I make a sound lest I miss His whispers within my soul?  “What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language He best hears is silent love.” (St. John of the Cross)

As a dog shows his love by lying silently at the feet of his master, so too should a soul lay in quiet expectation for the slightest movement that His Lord might make: for whatever the Lord demands, that we should faithfully, willfully and lovingly fulfill. It is how we come to a complete reliance on God while ridding our minds of any consideration of self.  “The most generous choices, especially the persevering, are the fruit of profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence.” (Pope John Paul II)

Silence informs our prayers. We cannot possibly pray as we ought if we do not allow God to speak to us and our prayers become merely a list of personal requests and demands. “God speaks in the silence of the heart, and we listen. And then we speak to God from the fullness of our heart, and God listens. And this listening and this speaking is what prayer is meant to be….” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

We live in a noisy and busy world where we find it difficult to find time to be alone with God and feel continuously oppressed by the demands of our lives. Somehow, we need to make room for the benefit of both our minds and our souls. “Let us allow ourselves to be ‘infected’ by St. Joseph’s silence! We need it greatly, in a world that is often too noisy, that does not favor meditation or listening to the voice of God.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

May we all find at least an hour during our week, especially during Mass, where our souls might have an opportunity to plumb its depths to that stillness, that quiet spot within our souls, where God abides, God speaks and we silently listen.

Evil Incarnate: the Iniquity of our Political Elite

If I were to suggest to you that it is right and good that we should extend the freedom of our countrymen to include the execution of certain classes of people you would likely say to me that I should either have my head examined or be locked up for the good of society. Yet we have gone so far as to enact a law to protect the right of each and every woman to willfully murder the infant in her womb if that should be her wish.

 Supporters of such rights will argue incessantly about when this life form becomes a person but that is only a futile attempt to justify to the rest of society the immorality of their personal desires – or worse yet, a way to curry favor with others and empower themselves. We can all agree, at least, that a fetus is certainly a “life form” because it is absolutely certain that should we find such a thing on the Moon or Mars the headlines would immediately inform us that we had found life on another planet.

 Indeed if we can only find a single cell bacteria on another world it would be heralded and protected, studied and loved for all the potential good that might result from our study. Yet whatever the resulting good might be for these extra-terrestrial bacteria, the potential of a human life might certainly overshadow this scientific discovery: for each human being has at least the potential to become something wonderful or diabolic – but it is the individual’s choices that form them. They could become the next Einstein, Mother Teresa or Stalin. I dare say that bacterium from Mars will be more protected than a child in his mother’s womb.

 It is also a great wonder that we Americans spend more money and have more laws protecting the eggs of sea turtles than we do for the destruction of a child’s life. Is this to say that the potential life of a sea turtle is somehow sacred but the potential human life is of no consequence whatever? Have we lost our minds – or at least our moral sanity?

 I’m sure some naysayers would insist that this is not the same at all. After all, a rational human mother has the “right” to make these kinds of decisions and a sea turtle does not. So we conclude that we have a right (or even a moral responsibility) to protect her eggs because she can’t tell us whether she wants them to live or die. Naturally, our decision is that any mother would want her offspring to live and therefore we must do all in our power to make sure that these eggs remain safe. But if we somehow conclude that it is our proper role to protect a sea turtle’s potential offspring then why is it not acceptable to use the same logic to protect an unborn child? Any mother should want her offspring to live – natural law is proof of this fact.  So the mother that wants to abort her child must be insane.

 These same pro-abortionists are quick to pass laws to protect habitats and stop the extinction of a species as a ‘moral’ mandate. Violation of their laws can get you a hefty fine if you’re lucky or a lengthy stay in jail.

 If we as a society have a right to make decisions regarding sea turtles and other protected wildlife and we can give the right of abortion to a human mother then why can’t we as a society start making additional decisions for mothers: we could restrict the number of births to 1 child as in China. We could tell a mother that she must have an abortion if she wants to live in our quiet little upscale community or we might restrict her from giving childbirth due to her age or intelligence. Why not? After all, having a child past 30 can cause expensive medical costs, raise the chance of having a downs syndrome baby or worse. The liberal bureaucrat can simply claim that the child, in all probability, will not have a life worth living: a divine decision with eternal consequences made by a fool who bases life and death on actuarial tables and at the end of the day goes home to snug apartment and sleeps very nicely, thinking that he has done society a great good.

 The sanctity of human life and the dignity of human life have somehow been monstrously degraded. When we are too old and feeble I am sure that we will eventually follow suit and legalize euthanasia. What then: eliminate those who are handicapped, incapable of work or useless to society?

 How did we arrive at this juncture in a supposed civilized society? The news reporters and commentators have worked hand in hand with the self-proclaimed elite of this country to proclaim evil for good and to denounce good for evil. We have been given the country that we deserve by electing presidents, congressmen, senators and judges that do not respect people except as a source of power.

 They make laws for the people while exempting themselves, they establish rights that don’t exist so that they might be seen as true champions of the people. All the while they continually usurp our rights and buy our votes with entitlements to further their own selfish elitist power.

 We might apply the following scripture to our new elite taken from Matthew 23:25-33.

 “Woe to you scribes[1] and Pharisees[2], hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine[3] and uncleanness. Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside may become clean. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all filthiness. So you also outwardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; that build the sepulchers of the prophets, and adorn the monuments of the just, and say: If we had been in the days of our Fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the sons of them that killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?”


[1] scribesAlso called sopher, sofer. Judaism. one of the group of Palestinian scholars and teachers of Jewish law and tradition, active from the 5th century b.c. to the 1st century a.d., who transcribed, edited, and interpreted the Bible.

[2] PhariseesA member of a Jewish sect that flourished during the 1st century b.c. and 1st century a.d. and that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.

[3] rapineThe violent seizure and carrying off of another’s property; plunder.