Silent night … holy night … all is calm … all is bright. Are you sleeping in heavenly peace these days or does your life look like the polar opposite? Between the external noise of the TV, social media, kids at home, and the internal noise of holiday to-do lists, your life may not be so silent, calm, or bright.
But Advent is a time to embrace silence, especially in our prayer life. Father Burke Masters stopped by Morning Air® this week to discuss the importance of silence and prayer, especially in this Advent season.
“Silence is key any time of the year, but I think especially Advent and Lent are these times that the Church gives us to stop and reflect,” he said.
The problem is we often don’t realize how little silence we have in our life until we experience it and see its fruits. Fr. Burke said, “It’s such a need. Here in the parish we’ve instituted a program called Forming Minds and Hearts where we do a half-hour of teaching and then an hour of adoration and Confession. Just that silence, taking a deep breath and letting go of our preoccupations and just focusing on Christ in the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. People are responding saying, ‘I didn’t know just how much I needed that silence.'”
Because we are so unused to silence, it can actually make us uncomfortable. Even waiting in line at the grocery store or at a stoplight may have you reaching for your phone or turning up the radio, because we don’t know what to do when confronted by silence.
Fr. Burke shared his own journey with silent prayer, saying, “I remember I used to be so afraid of silence because I knew in silence I would encounter God and myself. And I was afraid of both. I really wasn’t living the way I should be living, and I was afraid of what God might tell me, so I avoided silence at all costs.”
“I just stayed busy,” he admitted. “That was the first 30 years of my life. Then my girlfriend at the time, long before seminary, invited me to go to adoration. That silence was the most peace-filled hour of my week when we went to adoration. And it changed my life. Obviously, it was what led me to go into the seminary and become a priest.”
Fr. Burke encouraged listeners to not avoid silence because they fear what they might encounter, but to realize what they may be missing out on if they don’t seek it out.
“It’s in that silence that we encounter God and ourselves in a way that we’re not going to find at the mall or going through the internet to find that perfect gift,” he said. “Not saying shopping is bad, but sometimes we do those things just to keep busy.”
“I’ve never heard anybody say that they regret going to adoration or silent prayer. I’ve heard the opposite. So if you’re afraid of it, maybe look for a friend to go with you. But once you start going you’re going to want to keep going, even if it’s by yourself.”
Listen to the full conversation below: