Pope Francis made a visit to Basílica Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre (National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity). This is the home of the Patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity.
Watching the scene unfold on television was both uncomfortable and joyful. I happened upon it by accident, simply turning to the TWC Papal Channel 199. There was Pope Francis, the camera zoomed in tightly to the back of his head as he sat in a chair before the statue of Our Lady of Charity. That was joyful… then the camera zoomed out and the commentator began to chatter away, which is her job, filling the silence with a zillion words.
Moved by the sight of Pope Francis sitting and silently praying, seeming not to notice that the entire church and world were looking at him. It caught me off guard and got me thinking about that kind of silent prayer. Hitting the mute button, I decided to join him. And for a precious few moments, instead of doing this or that, I simply sat. What an way to model prayer for the world, sitting in silence, focused on God.
How might we all respond to God’s invitation that we spoke of yesterday by simply stopping and being silent? And in that silence, connecting with God?
Silence can be the most challenging condition. With our phones buzzing, computers beeping, and a thousand other over-stimulating things going on, no sound can feel like a terrifying void. Yet, isn’t God there?
Which leads me back to the Holy Father, with in many ways, the entire Church upon his shoulders… Yet there he sat, in silence, in peace, in prayer. What inspiration!
Let us try to pray for one another not with words, but maybe in a single minute or two of pure silence. We don’t have to be in church or before a statue. It could be in a car at the far end of the parking lot, in the bathroom, in an elevator. It is so hard, but if we pray with one another and start small with tiny breaks of silence, just imagine the possibilities.
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