Some people find it difficult to comply with my insistence on quiet and silence in the church, not only during the services, which should be obvious, but before and after. And I think we must realise something which we forget so often: that our being present before the face of God does not begin at the moment when the priest pronounces the first holy words of the service; this is the place of God, this is His dwelling place; these, in terms of the Old Testament, are the Gates of Heaven. And when we come to the church, the first thing which we must realise, is that we are in the presence, and that this presence can be perceived and lived with only in the deep silence of our souls. Not only the silence of words, but the silence of all powers of our being in awe and adoration before God. It is only if we enter into the service from within this silence that the words of prayer will reach us and blossom out into a new depth of contemplative silence, of serenity, and will have power to transform and transfigure us. So, it is not (only) a matter of church discipline or of protecting other people’s prayer against our own dissipation; it is a matter of entering ourselves into the mystery of this presence, so that through the liturgy we may gradually be transformed and brought into that depth where one meets God…
Quiet in Church
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