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Monday Musing

The other day I was reading my friend Michelle Francl-Donnay’s blog, Quantum Theology. This particular post was what was in her weekly column at the Catholic Standard and Times, which is the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She was writing about silence.

Silence is something many of us have so little of in our lives, yet it is so very necessary. I am painfully aware of how a lack of silence in my own life is a tremendous challenge, one that I am ready to confront more directly.

Michelle’s column, An Active Silence, brings up different kind of silence however, and one that I think of as the shared silence of worship and liturgy. The silence in liturgy is often found in we might experience as awkward pauses – or even as potential disasters. Once I was the second lector at mass and I was waiting for the cantor to return to the choir before I got up to make my way to the ambo. The very kind and well-intentioned person next to me poked me hard, just as the cantor turned to walk away from the ambo and in a panicked just-a-bit-too-loud-whisper said, “”Don’t you have to go up there and read?!”  It was a reminder of how uncomfortable that pause can be. I was anxious too, but in a different way.

In what may seem to be an unrelated link,  I bring up ABC News’ Person of the Week from last week, Alan Alda. In his retirement from acting, Alda is doing some interesting things. If you watch the video, you will hear him talk about intimacy and contact. In that moment we forget about what worries and frightens us, and we just are. That is what the pause calls us to, and that is potentially why it is so challenging.

The Person of the Week piece may not seem to be related to silence, but I think that it is, because it is about awkward contact, rich connection, wonder, awe and ultimately abut God, as I see it.

All these things which lead us into the seemingly awkward pause, is perhaps the place we go into the deepest intimacy with God.

(I can’t seem to embed the video into the post, but you can see it by visiting the link above.)


One Response

  1. So much to think about but two things stand out for me – the shared silence in liturgy which is so powerful for me and a phrase from the interview with Alan Alda, “keep the wonder alive”. This is the purpose of the liturgy also – to “keep the wonder alive” and when we pause in silence, we are given that opportunity. I appreciated reading Michelle’s column and also listening to and seeing Alan Alda’s passion for his new project. Thank you.

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