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stbenedictBenedict instructs his monks about silence after worship:

When the work of God is finished all should leave the church in deep silence and show reverence for God.

Our own worship should be punctuated with silence and stillness.

Altar servers are instructed to enter the procession in a slow and stately manner. A certain solemnity is observed to show reverence. The music should cease and silence prevail as the priest venerates the altar and worship begins.

Prayers should not be rushed, but be filled with pauses of silence for the heart to open beyond words. The communion should be conducted with reverence and silence so the people can listen to God and not to one another.

The little points Benedict makes about the details of monastic life can be integrated into our worship by both priests and laypeople. If all took seriously the need for stillness, silence and reverence then our awareness of God in worship would be clearer and unmistakeable.

When you next go to Mass take time to see how much or how little silence is observed, and if you can’t change everyone else, begin to set an example yourself. Bit by bit a new atmosphere develops and worship becomes more reverent and true.

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