We recently had a speaker at our parish who spoke on the liturgy. One of the things that he said puzzled me and I need some clarification. He noted that after we receive Holy Communion we are to “remove” ourselves from the communal aspect of the Mass and have a person encounter with our Lord. He said we should not sing or acknowledge anyone else around us. In his words he said, “The heck with the person next to you, this moment is a time for you to communicate with your Lord”.
Now, I read Pope Benedict’s “Spirit of the Liturgy” and I am aware that there is a personal aspect related to the sacred silence of the Mass. But my question is, theologically do we find a time in the Mass where we disengage ourselves from the community and solely engage with our Lord giving no thought to our neighbor? If we have such moments whereby we have no connection with the congregation then can someone tell me the line of demarcation whereby we engage and then disengage? Thank you in anticipation for your replies.
There should always be a period of silent reflection after Communion. In some parishes this is more pronounced than others - there may be a hymn during the Communion or there may be one after the priest sits down, allowing for people to have a moment in silent contemplation and prayer while others are still in line or while they’re waiting in line.
Some parishes, for reasons of time, might not be able to manage much in the way of contemplative time during the Mass if there’s another Mass scheduled to start right on the heels of the previous one, but the basic rule is there should be a period of quite for people to make their own prayers after receiving Communion.
The basis of my question is about our “disengaging” from the communal aspect of the Mass and moving into a personal encounter with our Lord. Do we have moments in Mass where there is no communal connection as this speaker mentioned? I realize the sacred silence and our interior response but is that exclusive of the community?
It is a moment of reflection following the reception of Hoy Communion that commonly you can watch around the church as people return to their pews and kneel quietly with their heads bowed. I talk to God during this time but until this post have never considered it the way you were instructed. A personal encounter with God is a nice and better way to think about it.
Yes. Immediately after we receive the Lord, we should be fully recollected and our whole mind and heart should solely be focused on Christ, with whom we are - as s. Pio once said - fused like two candles melt together.
We should also remain recollected for approximately 15 minutes after Holy Mass ends, for we are during that time living tabernacles. It is an offense to the Lord when people just run out of Church after the Ite, Missa Est, or even worst, when they gather around the pews and start chatting about worldly matters, ignoring the living God that is physically dwelling in them.
But it would be a misunderstanding to believe - as you seem to do - that this is equivalent to “giving no thought to our neighbor” and “have no connection to the congregation”. In fact, that is the one moment in which we are literally one with the Universal Church, Militant, Penitent, and Triumphant. It is at that very moment when we recollect and give to Christ all of our love with all of our heart and mind that His grace flows more freely through all the members of His mystical body, and the more we let ourselves be lost in the ocean of His divinity, the more good we do to our soul and that of our loved ones.
It is also right to say that one should not sing while processing to receive the Lord or after receiving Him. This is a task for the chorus. After the Domine non sum dignus (“Lord, I am not worthy”) we should not say a single word, our whole soul engulfed in the majestic mystery about to take place, the Lord who deigned to purify Our Lady of all sin and to send the Holy Spirit in His fullness so that she may bear Him whom the heavens cannot contain, the same Lord is about to dwell in my poor heart, in my unworthy heart, in my sinful heart. His most venerable feet, that the holy angels prevent from ever falling on any stone, will step through the thorns that I have planted in my heart, and in the darkness of this new Getsemane is where the Living God will now dwell. Only the greatest impulse of love could bring some light and be an acceptable motion of welcome, for we do not want it to be said of us: “He was in his heart, and though his heart was made through him, his heart did not recognize him”. Rather, our heart should cry: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Lord, I need to come to you, and do you come to me?”, as the heavens echo: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”.
Beloved, you who dwelt in the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, who will now embrace you with the disposition of the most loving Bride? Where shall you find a fit dwelling place for your infinite love? Blessed is every heart in which you shall find rest.
I guess I never considered doing otherwise!! When I am in the process of consuming the Creator of the Universe, I really could not care less about what’s happening around me. I very much go “internal” to myself, and just BE with God during that time.
One of the several reasons I prefer sitting in the front of the Church, so my time with Christ is as long as possible after I receive Him.
I really wish that my parish had a period of silence around Communion time. Instead, the Communion hymn is being sung and right after, the pastor gives the final blessing and announcements. I’ve thought about staying after Mass, but the organist continues playing for a while and people start talking to each other in the pews. By the time it would be quiet enough for me to pray, the building would need to be locked up and I’d have to leave. So I do my best to give thanks and talk to Jesus during the Communion hymn. It’s very hard, espcially when I like the song, but it’s the best I can do. Silence is good; sometimes it seems like silence is treated as a bad thing.
In response, teachccd, I will use my personal example in hopes that it adds to your understanding.
Firstly, I too find the Communion hymn to be a distraction. (When I was able to assist at the EF I found that listening to Gregorian Chant in Latin helped me to concentrate.)
After receiving our Lord I return to the pew and concentrate to the best of my ability on what has just happened and how I still have God in my mouth. (I sit near the front so not much time elapses.)
I keep my eyes closed and contemplate rather than praying with words. But I also find it important to be joyful in the knowledge that almost the whole congregation is receiving God as well. I remain like that until the priest says “Let us pray.”
30-40 years ago I only knelt shortly and then I sat and observed everyone else. I found this not to be spiritually beneficial so I have since changed my ways.
At my parish we usually have Gregorian Chant during communion, with a piece of polyphony in the time just before it is time for the mass to move on (which is for about 5 mins after communion has ended).
I agree with all of the above. You misread my post. The speaker said that we are to detach ourselves from the communal aspect of the liturgy during this time and I agree with what I bold faced in your post above. Thank you for shedding light on this as I didn’t really know how to word it. So, just to clarify, there is an internal response that is very personal but that does not disengage us from the rest of the Body of Christ. In other words, while we are communicating directly with our Lord we still remain attached to the Church and in no way remove ourselves from this universal bond. Again, this is what I understand but this was not how the speaker presented it. Thank you.
Very well said. I do the same but I still acknowledge that all who are present remain united and in communion even during this most precious moment this side of heaven. The speaker at my parish made it clear that at this moment we disengage ourselves and strictly become only one on one with Christ excluding anyone else that is present. I wanted clarification that the mystical Body of Christ can never be a “personal” moment if it is thought of as a moment of separation from the Body. Some of you cleared that up for me. Thank you.