Father Gregory Galvin, Director of Priestly Vocations
Each year we celebrate the start of November with the feast of All Saints, followed by the feast of All Souls Day. This month also marks the celebration of Thanksgiving, while the end of the month closes the calendar year of the Church with the Feast of Christ the King. These occasions are opportunities for us to deepen our spiritual lives.
November also gives us an opportunity to renew the gift of silence in our own lives, particularly in prayer and reflection. Silence assists in opening the soul to God. As we become comfortable with silence, it can become easier to be more ready and open, more trusting of our Heavenly God and Father.
For example, in January 2018 Pope Francis spoke about the liturgy of the Holy Mass as a “school of prayer,” able to teach us how to speak with God in our prayers. In an article written that month by Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz, he quotes Pope Francis, “Silence is not limited to the absence of words; rather, we open ourselves to hearing other voices: that of our heart, and above all, that of the Holy Spirit.”
Diaz points out that the Holy Father is speaking about the Gloria and the Collect, also known as the “Opening Prayer.” He is telling the faithful the importance of silence.
He writes, “In this context, he reiterated that when the priest invites the faithful to pray during the Eucharist, we are to renew our awareness of being in God’s presence and offer to Him our personal intentions from the depths of our hearts, participating actively in the Mass.”
Silence is the tool used to accomplish this throughout the liturgy. This is also important in the work of personal discernment of each child of God. It is through quiet prayer, opening ourselves to silence and learning to hear the Father, Son and Holy Spirit speak to us, that each of us can better discern and come to understand the call given to each one of us regarding our particular vocation. As one learns to be comfortable with silence, one can find it much more relaxing to simply “sit with God.”
Silence and openness of the soul during reflection allows us to experience a peacefulness and an awareness of being in God’s presence. This is where and when we can best “speak with God.” This month, those who find themselves praying for deceased loved ones, reflecting on what they are personally thankful for in their lives during Thanksgiving or reflecting on our Lord’s kingship should work at becoming more comfortable with being silent.
This is daily work; we must find time and space for silence, which ultimately can assist us in deepening our conversation with God and the ability to recognize His quiet voice in our hearts. This also allows us to discover with greater understanding God’s will for us, and hopefully assists us in embracing more willingly His plan for us.
May you, through the intercession of All the Saints, have a blessed Thanksgiving and may the faithfully departed from all our families rest in peace until our Lord, Savior and King comes again. Please continue to join us in prayer for an increase of vocations and for our present seminarians. The next Monthly Holy Hour is on Thursday, November 21, in Essex, at St. Teresa of Calcutta, (Our Lady of Sorrows).