In the last post we mentioned that Worship is the self-giving
act of God and the self-giving
act of ourselves in totality. Just as the temple was designed with different degrees of holiness or consecreation, so is the praise and worship session. The movement of praise and worship is the movement of consecrating oneself to God step by step, litlte by litle, until in worship, we give ourselves totally and wholly to God.
In this time of communion with God, in this time of setting ourselves apart wholly
for God, we have come face to face with God. And as we come face to face with God, we can only bow down and worship Him in silent adoration. In this worship there are no words left, only adoration and love.
The church teaches that(CCC 2628) ... Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God.
We adore God in silence before the presence of the "ever greater" God! And in a true adoration, a true sacrifice takes place. In other words, true self-giving takes place.
(CCC 2099) It is right to offer sacrifice to God as a sign of adoration and gratitude, supplication and communion: "Every action done so as to cling to God in communion of holiness, and thus achieve blessedness, is a true sacrifice."16
In silent Adoration, we learn to give ourselves, we learn to Love. Loving is self-giving. To love is to give oneself. To love is to sacrifice oneself.
And St. Therese of Avilla once said about prayerPrayer is an act of love, words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love."
All that is needed is the will to love. Prayer is an "act of love". Love is the essence of prayer. And to love is to give onself, and to give oneself is to worship. Maybe that's the reason why worship is an imporant element in a "prayer" meeting.
But it is interesting that St. Therese said, "words are not needed". And I guess this is very true when we worship God from our whole being. Just as Jesus stretched out his hands with his head bowed down in his total self-giving to the Father and to us, so too in worship. Words are not needed.
In this worship we give ourselves, and in giving ourselves we are in communion with God. In this total communion with God, we enter into the silence as the Lord of Lords comes to take his place in our hearts.
In the writing of the prophets, "silence" always precedes and heralds the coming of the Lord (NJB study bible notes on Rev 8:1).
Zach 2 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the LORD.  And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. ...  Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.
We are invited to "sing and rejoice" because He is coming, he is coming into our hearts! After all the songs and the rejoicing, this is what is said, "be silent, .... all flesh". We enter into silence as the Lord of hosts comes and dwells in our hearts and lives.And as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings comes and dwells in our hearts, we can only give ourselves totally in return.
And maybe this is the reason why we all pray in silence after we receive communion. Because in this very moments the God of the Universe comes with Love to meet us, to be in union with us. It is a union when God gives himself to us, but also as we give ourselves to God in return.
Fr. Gino once taught us in a workshop that Worship in a catholic tradition is "silence". Worship for us catholics is not yelling and screaming, but silence. Worship for us is not a state of "high emotion" or the "feeling" of deep worship. For us, worship is adoration, respectful silence for the Lord who is coming, it is a receiving attitude to the Lord who gives himself, but also a self-giving act of ourselves, worship is a decision.
What else can we do before the Lord of Lords other than to adore him? What is the best adoration other than being in silence? But what do we do in silence? This is what we do: we allow ourselves to be embraced by the Lord who is coming with Love. This is what we can do, to embrace him in return with our whole being.
In this worship, we learn to be in silence. And in this silence we enter into the Holy of Holies. The inner most of the temple where God dwells!
The Hebrew words for Holy of Holies can also be translated as "Oracles" or God's voice. This is the place where God speaks. It is only in silent worship that we enter into the Holy of Holies and encounter the voice of God. And so the Psalmist says
Ps. 95[7b] O that today you would hearken to his voice![8a] Harden not your hearts
In silence, we encounter the voice of God. In silence, we encounter the God who speaks. I am aware that many of us feel that they are unable to "hear" this voice. But we often "listen" using the wrong ears. We tend to use our physical and intellectual ears, but not the ears of our hearts.
Sometimes we forget that his voice is no ordinary voice. His words is no ordinary words. His voice is the voice that creates the universe, it is the voice that says "Let there be light", and "there was light". It's the Powerful voice of God that always "creates" a new.
Ps. 33 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,and all their host by the breath of his mouth. For he spoke, and it came to be;he commanded, and it stood forth.
The Word of God creates! This word of God is Jesus! (John 1:1). This Word, this voice of God, that we encounter is not just a sound, it is a "person". And together with the Word is the "breath of his mounth" (Ps 33:6). When the word is spoken, the breath is sent forth. The Hebrew word for "breath" is Ruah which also means "Spirit". And so together with Jesus, the voice of God, is also the Holy Spirit, the breath of God.
And so this "hearken to his voice" is the "encounter" with God himself. And how should we "listen" then? We need to accept Him, we need to embrace Him, and to allow him to "speak" with the words that "creates" us anew. We need to allow him to change us! This "change" is what the Evangelist called in Greek, metanoia,
or simply means "con-version".
And so the Word of God together with the Spirit of God come to those who give themselves to God...and God will create them anew.
Ps. 104 When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created;and thou renewest the face of the ground.
In worship, something happens! In worship, as we enter into silence, we will encounter the voice of God, Jesus is the voice of God. And as we encounter the voice of God, we will surely be renewed, changed, transformed, refreshed, and born again! And this is the promise that will never fail!
Is. 55 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and return not thither but water the earth,making it bring forth and sprout,giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;it shall not return to me empty,but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
This is what we are doing in a praise and worship session. We are called to move from our "world" to God, to set ourselves apart, to be consecrated, to give ourselves wholly to God. And as we give ourselves in silent worship, we will surely encounter the God who loves us, we will surely encounter His voice, encounter his embrace of Love. It is the moment when we are loved. This loves "changes" us, this love drives us for a "conversion", for a "change of lives", for a change to be "more like Christ" every day.
Just as mankind came into being when God "breathed" his "breath" or his "spirit" into the man's nostrils, so are we in the time of worship. The Spirit is "breathed" when God speaks. And when the spirit is breathed, our lives will never be the same again. We begin to live the life that God wants us to be. And this is the life that God wants us to be
Joh 15:12 "... that you love one another as I have loved you.
Every time we come out from a prayer meeting meeting, this is what must happen in our lives, that we want more and more to love as God has loved us. And this is how God Loves us, he died and rose again, so that forever he can say to you and to me, "This is my body,...given for you
.., and this is my blood,...poured out for you
Let us close with an invocation for the "breath of God" that changes and renews us as we learn to listen to "His voice" daily.Come, O Holy SpiritFill the hearts of your faithfuland enkindle in them the fire of your LoveSend forth your spirit O Lord,and they shall be created,and you shall renew the face of the earth.
your brother in His love,