Holy Silence at OLMC

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Carmel, IN

Today, I returned to a place I had vowed to avoid—the perpetual adoration chapel at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (OLMC).  OLMC is conveniently situated a couple of miles to the west of my son’s high school, Guerin Catholic.   It’s much closer if you want to make 8am mass after carpool than my own parish—which I want to state for the record that I love– before you read on.

Still, I have been steering clear of OLMC.  Allow me to explain.

Several months ago, I visited the OLMC chapel during my son’s baseball practice which was nearby.  40 minutes or so with Jesus would be good, I thought.  So, as I walked in there, I think I spot a friend (which I am not expecting since it’s not my parish)….so I am distracted a bit.  One hand is in holy water, the other holding my purse, and my shoes are damp from the wet pavement.  All this and I am attempting to genuflect.  I fall right on my rear.  I kind of land half in the lap of some old gray haired guy.  I take a big, dramatic, humiliating tumble.

The man is worried am I ok, and I get up as quick as I can, find a seat, and just put my head down hoping to never raise it again.  My cell phone starts to buzz.  I drop it on the floor grabbing for it, and parts scatter.  No one is praying at this point, and I am officially a menace.  There were probably 15 people in that chapel.  It was a full house.

Then, a woman says, “let us pray together the litany of humility”.  The gray hair comes toward me, puts his hand on my back, kind of rubs it….and hands me the prayer.  He whispers, “maybe you want to pray along.”

Humiliating?  Yes.

For the unfamiliar, here is the dreadful prayer.

LITANY OF HUMILITY

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

I decided after that day that the people of OLMC deserve a break from yours truly.  A permanent break.

Today, I returned to morning mass at OLMC because a friend wanted company.  I admit my own tank was a little low, as was my enthusiasm.

But then, I arrived.  As I walked in, I remembered they observe a beautiful holy silence in their chapel and in the church.  Jesus is present in the tabernacle behind the altar, and also in the perpetual adoration chapel nearby.  You cannot miss this fact, because you feel the respect of everyone present by their observance of silence.

As with most daily masses everywhere I’ve been, morning mass is quick at OLMC, but here it’s not rushed.  The friend who accompanied me noticed a “special vibe” in that place.  She noticed it after mass in the chapel where we prayed kneeling next to each other.  She noticed it in the beautiful wall tapestries which contain images of several saints.  Most of all, she noticed it in the amazing numbers of parishioners who were present to receive the Eucharist and to pray in His presence in the chapel.  Joy was palpable on her face and in my own heart too from the lovely grace-filled morning.

This is when I had today’s light bulb moment.

Gathering as a community does not make a group holy, any more than attending mass makes an individual holy.  God uses grace as a tool to mold His church, to correct her, to grant us a collective passion for others, and to enable us to love Him, each other and the world.  Some means of grace are personal—like solitude, or the sacrament of reconciliation.  Others are corporate—like the mass—or a Jesus loving parish who welcomes visitors with the gift of holy silence and their collective witness of faith.  It’s about doing small things with great love, just as Mother Teresa famously said.

People of OLMC, my hat is off today to you.

Thank you for preparing for mass in prayerful silence.  Thank you for sharing your well prepared priest, Fr. Adam Mauman, and for the witness of the reverent server (whose name I do not know).  Thank you for reaching with two hands at the sign of peace.  Thank you for sharing your sunshine filled adoration chapel.  Thank you for knowing all the words to “Sanctus” in Latin.  I’d like to learn them.   It was all beautiful.

I left OLMC having received bread for the journey, my empty tank refilled and my heart renewed today with love of Jesus I saw in those around me.

“If only one little child is made happy with the love of Jesus…will it not be worth…..giving all for that?”  Mother Teresa

2 thoughts on “Holy Silence at OLMC

  1. i’m often the only one – or one of say, 3, at my perpetual adoration chapel. as such i’m SO mindful of every little sniffle that breaks the silence… couldn’t imagine being there with 15+ people!

    also, i’ve dropped my phone and scattered the pieces so many times it’s not funny 🙂

  2. I admit, the “crowd” at the chapel I wrote about is a little initmidating. However, it’s also so darn impressive. As for my clumsiness….I like to call those my “Lucy and Ethel” moments. Ever seen an old episode of I Love Lucy?? Happy Friday, Marie. God bless.

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