Friday, 15 April 2016

Silence...


Silence is golden, silence is awkward, silence is many things. But it is not liturgical!

7 comments:

  1. I think I know where you are going, but I disagree. Silence is the mystery revealed at the unleashing of the seventh seal. Isn't this why The Apostle John holds his fingers over his lips? We experience the dead Christ first in silence before all of creation reacts. Cherubik Hymns even overrode what was once an always silent prelude to the Great Entrance. The Pre-Sanctified Holy Things are still processed as though the faithful are blind and deaf the glory of the Messiah passing before us; I think silence can indeed be liturgical.

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    1. You see, I've always seen silence as something solitary and therefore not liturgical. Silence has immense value in one's interior prayer life (not that I would know), and there are undoubted scriptural texts that support silence as godly (Elijah on the mountain, for instance), as well as the monastic quality of silence. But the liturgical, corporate prayer of the Church? I'm not so sure.

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    2. To elaborate somewhat on the corporate nature of Christian worship, I'm not that keen on the silent Canon. I don't think I've ever witnessed a chanted anaphora in the Roman Rite, but I would like to.

      Oh, the wisdom of Vatican II...

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    3. Pete, thank you for this, it is very well written and goes right to the point.

      But, if I understand Patrick correctly, he also does not like processions of the Blessed Sacrament; which you correctly state are done silently during the presanctified liturgy. I do not know if Patrick has ever attended the Byzantine Lenten Presanctified service.

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    4. Oh, also forgotten, until the influence of Vatican II on the Orthodox Church, the canon of the Mass was always said silently except for the Words of Institution, but the consecration, the Invocation, was always said silently.

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  2. Perhaps. I just think that silence maintains a purpose when something is being accomplished liturgically that the other senses can perceive or acknowledge. Awkward silence "between sets", as it were, has no place in liturgy. The heavens are far to dynamic for us to have moments of non-sensual nonsense.

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  3. An old Russian priest once mentioned to me about the bishop (whose name I shall not mention): "he hates silence in the liturgy, he is afraid God might try and speak to him."

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