Being a Vibrant Parish – 20140112

As many have surmised, I have been encouraging through this article the practice of the presence of God as a means to become a vibrant Christian and, therefore, help the community to become a vibrant parish. This practice is one of the oldest approaches used by the Eastern Church to promote spirituality. It is an approach that promotes an awareness of God within and also interior peace. It is only in quiet that we can hear God speak to us and to sense His presence.
One author suggests that perhaps this is the reason God makes silences in every life: the silence of sleep, the silence of sickness, the silence of sorrow, and then the last great silence of death. One of the      hardest things in the world is to get little children to keep still. They are in a state of perpetual activity, restless, eager, questioning, alert. And just as a mother says to her child, “Be still,” and hushes it to sleep that it may rest, so God does sooner or later with all of us. What a quiet, still place the sick room is! What a time for self-examination! What silence there is in a house where a loved one has died! How the voices are hushed, and every footstep soft. Had we the choosing of our own affairs we would never have chosen such an hour as that; and yet how often it is rich in blessing. All the activities of our years may not have taught us quite so much as we learned in the silences of sickness, sorrow and death. So God comes, in his irresistible way, which never ceases to be a way of love, and says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”:
It must be understood that silent prayer cannot stand alone. It is intimately related to public worship. As one of the saints said, “There can be no closet prayer without common prayer.” It is common prayer that gives us the inspiration and enthusiasm to practice closet prayer.
What the Church hopes will happen is that when we come together for common prayer we will be motivated to continue that prayer at home during the rest of the week. The Divine Liturgy should inspire us, since it reminds us that we are joined to God and others in the common bond of life, to pray in private and continue  experiencing the presence of God.

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