Pope Francis: The Mass needs silence, not ‘chit-chat’

Vatican City, Nov 15, 2017 / 03:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday Pope Francis called out the common habit of chatting with people around you before Mass, stressing that this is a time for silent prayer, when we prepare our hearts for an encounter with the Lord.

“When we go to Mass, maybe we arrive five minutes before, and we start to chit-chat with those in front of us,” the Pope said Nov. 15. However, “it is not a moment for chit-chat.”

“It is a moment of silence for preparing ourselves for dialogue, a time for the heart to collect itself in order to prepare for the encounter with Jesus,” he said, adding that “silence is so important.”

Continuing his new catechesis on the Eucharist, the Pope recalled his message the week prior, that the Mass is not a show, but a place where we encounter the Lord. In this encounter, he said, silence is what “prepares us and accompanies us.”

But to really understand this, first we have to answer a question, he said. And that is: What is prayer?

Prayer is, “first and foremost dialogue, personal relationship with God,” he said. And in prayer, just like in any dialogue, it needs moments of silence “together with Jesus.” This, he said, is because it is only in the “mysterious silence of God” that his Word can resound in our heart.

Francis explained that to pray is not difficult, and is something that Jesus himself taught us to do first of all by example, when in the Gospels he withdraws to a secluded place to pray. And second, he teaches us again when he tells his disciples that the first word in knowing how to pray is “Father.”

This is “so simple,” the Pope said. “So we have to learn, ‘Father.’” Then, we must take on the attitude of a small child before his or her parents. One full of trust and confidence, knowing that God “remembers you and takes care of you,” he said.

The second attitude we should take is one of childlike surprise and wonder. The child, he said, “always asks a thousand questions because he wants to discover the world; in our relationship with the Lord, in prayer, wonder,” he said, telling pilgrims to “open the heart to wonder.”

When it comes to prayer, he noted that often we are busy with many different activities or projects and say we don’t have time. “We lose sight of what is fundamental: our life of the heart, our spiritual life, our life of prayer with the Lord.”

However, Jesus surprises us in truth by loving us and calling us even in our weaknesses, he said, adding that just as Christ called his disciples, he also calls us to him at each Mass.

“This is therefore the greatest grace: to be able to experience the Mass, the Eucharist. It is the privileged moment to be with Jesus, and through Him with God and his brothers.”

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  1. To have turned the mass into a theater production or pep rally and the church into a town hall as he and his confreres have done – and then lament that people talk or take pictures is truly sad, and delusional.

  2. I hope that the parishoners at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge, Illinois will listen to what Pope Francis said about the time before Mass not being a time for “chit-chat” – and follow what he said. Or, at the very least, they can take that “chit-chat” somewhere else – but NOT in the sanctuary!

    • When the ministers are walking all around and chatting with people before mass, When the ‘presider’ starts the mass with the weather report and a recap of his plans for later on (who’s going to win the football game this afternoon), you can’t expect anything better from anyone else. But, if you care to, you know where to lay part of the blame.

      (and let’s not pretend that that kind of thing never happened in Cardinal Bergolio’s diocese or parishes)

  3. There are a few things I agree with Pope Francis and this is one. Parishioners have an awful habit of gabbing away before even seconds prior to the priest emerging to offer Mass. In a NM parish I gently reminded the small congregation. Later the pastor asked if such and such had me for dinner [she was an excellent cook] and I said no. He was befuddled. I wasn’t. How dare I a mere priest ask Laity to observe a modicum of reverence.

    • It’s truly sad that he might not even know that it is his kind of liturgical reform and of leadership through the years that have led us to where we are now.

  4. Pope Francis is right about silence before mass begins. It is so difficult to pray when people around you are laughing and talking. Parishioners should be preparing themselves for the coming of our Savior and not so worried about what they will be doing after mass. Another subject that Pope Francis should address is how people dress when they come to God’s house. People have forgotten that they are on holy ground when they enter the church and should be reverent in how they behave and dress.

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