There is a place in our private prayers for silence. “Be still and know that I am God,” the Scriptures tell us. When we pray privately, there is a time for silence, for wonder, and for awe as we listen to the movements of God’s grace. Regarding the public prayer of the Church, the Mass, a great deal depends on our private prayer said at other times. Our personal prayers fuel a deeper meaning and relevance to the corporate prayer with its accompanying moments of silence. Unless we are accustomed to private prayer, the place for silent prayer at Mass will not be fruitful. There is a place for silence in the beginning of Mass and for reflection on our sinfulness just before the priest asks the congregation to express their sorrow publicly. Hopefully, at the end of the Scripture reading, the Reader will give us a moment to reflect on what has just been heard. God speaks to us in the Scripture service and it may be that some phrase or word will touch us. Certainly there is an intended theme or message and it is often picked up by our response to the reading. A silent pause, no matter how brief, should come after the Gospel and at the end of the homily. During the preparation of the gifts (of bread and wine), there are moments when we silently offer ourselves, our work, our play and our lives to God. We do not enter into the liturgy cold but rather bring our needs, hopes, aspirations and insights from private prayer. There are moments for private acts of faith at the beginning of the Mass, at the Offertory and at the elevation of the consecrated hosts and precious blood. We pause quietly again to pray for the living and the dead. The most important moment for silence is at the time immediately following Holy Communion. We spend a little time at Mass making our Thanksgiving. Do we realize who has just come to us in Communion or is it “eat-and-run”? The latter is impolite even in ordinary gatherings for meals. Finally, there is the time at the conclusion of the Mass. Unfortunately, while a few are trying to pray quietly in the church, they are distracted by others engaging in conversation. Silence is golden, especially when it reflects a preoccupation with God and his presence.