The Cathedral Connection 19 March 2017

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THE SOUND OF SILENCE

You may be noticing some changes in the Sunday liturgy during the season of Lent.  These are mainly to do with sound, or rather the absence of sound.  This is a season that invites reflection and an atmosphere of quiet is helpful for this.

The “Gloria” is neither said nor sung during Lent and some of the choral singing is unaccompanied.  There is no music to introduce the Gospel, and there is silence as the bread and wine is placed on the altar.  At our High Mass (10.30am) music does not accompany the incensing of the altar or the congregation.  We depart to softer, more subdued music, not to dampen our spirits but to encourage us to continue the reflection as we return to our homes and journeys.

Silence has an important place in the liturgy generally.  While we gather and pray as a community, we also need personal time to express sorrow, to petition and to give thanks.  So, there should be spaces in every Mass, such as after the readings and after Communion, to let us think about what we have heard or are experiencing and to make a personal response.

But Lent brings an extra need for silence.  We are journeying with Jesus as he makes his way to Jerusalem and Calvary.  This is a big commitment.  We need to be sure we appreciate the consequences of keeping him company.  We first made this commitment with baptism, and we renew it every Lent.  Use the silent time to firm up the connection.  Listen and respond.

Silence is not a popular commodity today.  It can feel like wasted space.  Yet it is a gift of great value.  Make the most of it.

Fr James

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