Moments of silence essential part of Mass, says Pope

Moments of silence in the Mass should be intentional times of prayer, recollection and communion.

That’s according to Pope Francis who on January 10 told  7,000 faithful in the Paul IV Hall at the Vatican: “Silence is not reduced to the lack of words, but in being open to listen to other voices - that of our heart and, above all, the voice of the Holy Spirit.”

He said it is only in silence that we discover the importance of listening to our soul and then opening it to the Lord.

“Here lies the importance of listening to our soul in order to open it up for the Lord. Perhaps we come from days of challenges, joy, pain, and we wish to say this to the Lord, invoke his help, ask that he be close to us; we have family and friends who are sick or going through a hard time; we wish to trust the fate of the Church and the world to God,” he said.

Pope Francis encouraged priests not to be in a hurry when praying and to observe this moment of silence following the opening prayer of the Mass.

He pointed out that these silences are written into the General Instruction of the Roman Missal where it says that in the Penitential Act and again after the invitation to pray, everyone is supposed to spend a moment in recollection.

In the Roman Rite, orations are “short but rich in meaning,” Francis said.

He  encouraged the faithful to meditate on these texts even outside of Mass as an example of how to talk to God, what to ask and which words to use. By meditating on the prayers of the Mass, the liturgy can become a “true school of prayer.”

Before the Mass, the Pope stopped to take pictures with children. He also had no hesitation in stopping for  a quick sip of mate, a common Argentinian drink likened to a cup of tea, given to him by a woman in the crowd.

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