In the Mass, after the Penitential Act, our prayer takes a particular form in the oration called the 'Collect'. "With the invitation" pray ", the priest exhorts the people to gather with him in a moment of silence, in order to become aware of being in the presence of God and bring out, each one in their own heart, their personal intentions for Mass ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The moments of silence foreseen by the liturgy during Mass is not the absence of words, "but rather to dispose ourselves to listen to other voices: that of our heart and, above all, the voice of the Holy Spirit". The " sacred nature of silence" during the celebration of Mass, which depends on the moment in which it occurs, was illustrated by Pope Francis to the eight thousand people present in the Paul VI hall, in the Vatican, for the general audience.
Continuing the cycle of catechesis dedicated to the Mass, the Pope spoke today of the hymn of praise "Gloria" and the Collect prayer, with the silence that accompanies it.
The Gloria, said Francis comes after the Penitential Act that " helps us to strip ourselves from our presumptions and to present ourselves to God as we really are, conscious of being sinners, in the hope of being forgiven”.
“In fact, the gratitude expressed in the “Gloria” comes to life from the encounter between human misery and divine mercy; <it is> “a very ancient and venerable hymn with which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and beseeches God the Father and the Lamb” (Ordinamento Generale del Messale Romano, 53). The beginning of this hymn – “Glory to God in the highest” — takes up the song of the Angels at Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, joyful proclamation of the embrace between Heaven and earth”.
The Pope continued “After the “Gloria,” or when this isn’t, immediately after the Penitential Act, the prayer takes a particular form in the prayer called “Collect,” through which is expressed the character proper of the celebration, variable according to the days and the times of the year (Cf. Ibid., 54). With the invitation “Let us pray,” the priest exhorts the people to recollect themselves with him in a moment of silence, in order to be conscious of being in the presence of God and have arise, in each one’s heart, the personal intentions with which he takes part in the Mass (Cf. Ibid., 54). The priest says “Let us pray”, and then comes a moment of silence, and each one thinks of the things of which he is in need, what he wishes to ask for in prayer.
The silence isn’t reduced to the absence of words, <but> rather in disposing oneself to listen to other voices: that of our heart and, especially, the voice of the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, the nature of the sacred silence depends on the moment in which it takes place: “During the Penitential Act and after the invitation to prayer, it helps recollection; after the Reading or the homily, it’s a call to meditate briefly on what one has heard; after Communion, it fosters interior prayer of praise and supplication” (Ibid., 4r5). Therefore, before the initial prayer, silence helps to recollect ourselves in ourselves and to think why we are there. See then the importance of listening to our spirit to then open it to the Lord. Perhaps we come from days of toil, of joy, of sorrow, and we want to say it to the Lord, to invoke His help, to ask that He be close to us; we <might> have sick relatives and friends or who are going through difficult trials; we want to entrust to God the fate of the Church and of the world. And for this the brief silence is useful, before the priest, gathering the intentions of each one, expresses in a loud voice to God, in the name of all, the common prayer that ends the Rites of Introduction, doing in fact the “Collect” of the individual intentions. I earnestly recommend to priests to observe this moment of silence and not go in a hurry: “Let us pray,” and that silence be kept. I recommend this to priests. Without this silence, we risk neglecting the recollection of the soul”.
“What is the content of this prayer? In short, it goes from praise to supplication. Generally inspired by biblical passages, it consists of two moments: first the invocation of the name of God, developed in the memory of what He has done for us; the second moment is the supplication, that is, we ask for His intervention “. “The priest recites this supplication, this Collect prayer, with his arms spread, which is the attitude of the worshipper, assumed by Christians from the first centuries — as the frescoes of the Roman catacombs attest — to imitate Christ with His arms open on the wood of the cross. And there, Christ is the Worshipper and is at the same time the prayer! In the Crucified we recognize the Priest that offers to God the worship that pleases Him, namely, filial obedience”.
He concluded: “In the Roman Rite the prayers are concise but rich in meaning: beautiful meditations can be made on these prayers, which are so beautiful! To return to meditate the texts, also outside of the Mass, can help us to learn how to address God, what to ask for, what words to use. May the liturgy be able to become for all of us a true school of prayer”.