The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.
Do you find comfort in the bigness of our God? Do you have a taste of heaven when you participate in the awesome bigness of the Mass? Does a church, fully decorated for Christmas or Easter, cause you to utter a “Wow, that is beautiful?” As you listen to the choir sing a reflection hymn in beautiful four-part harmony, accompanied by an organ and brass, do you feel your spirit lifted?
Are your senses delighted as you watch clouds of incense rising above the altar or see the rainbow-colored droplets of holy water spray across the assembly during the sprinkling rite? Do you yearn for the return of a sung Gloria after a long quiet Lent? At that moment of elevation, when we witness the actual body and blood of Jesus in our midst, do you feel it to the very core of your soul?
Often, in situations like that, we will say, “That was a good liturgy.” We like it when God shows up with special effects and flashes of lighting. We feel most secure in our understanding of God when God speaks to us loudly, clearly and with power and authority.
However in this Sunday’s readings, we are challenged to hear God in a whisper. How well do you pay attention — not just in sound, but in sight and in feeling — to God’s little whispers when you gather for Mass? I can’t tell you how to find that whisper, because only you know those things that unexpectedly catch your attention and deepen your faith.
I experienced a God whisper a few weeks ago at a Sunday Mass. A young family brought up the gifts for the offertory. As the mother and father and one small daughter carried the bread, wine and collection, the very young son held tightly to the back of his mother’s skirt and trailed behind them, thumb stuck firmly in his mouth. In that moment, God whispered to me of the great, ever present, parenting love that God holds for us.
Listening for God in the whisper is not easily achieved. To hear God’s whisper, we need to quiet down. We have to have a heart that is open to an intimate word that God is extending only to us.
Each Sunday, when you gather for Mass, create some quiet time for yourself where you only focus is on what whisper God might have for you. Sharpen your ears and pay attention. It may be the sunlight streaming through the stained glass, or watching as the people (the body of Christ) move forward to receive the body of Christ. It could be waiting for a joke Father tells during the homily.
God whispers are so gentle, inviting us to be still. God whispers are compelling, inviting us to draw near as God says, “I want to share this with you.”
Perhaps, only in this intense listening, are we made more ready to receive God in the bigness of the liturgy.
Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.