“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10
It can be pretty easy to let being a seminarian go to one’s head. I mean, Inspiration at Six Flags was a good example. Almost everywhere I went with the other guys from St. John’s there were teens saying hi to us. We got to serve Mass, meet the bishop, even kind of have some private moments of Adoration back stage before the big event started. I even got to meet Ike Ndolo back stage afterward and introduce myself and thank him and his band for their music. I’m kind of a fan, so that was pretty cool. All of the teens were cheering for us, saying hi to us, and praying for us. Yes I could hear some of you calling out my name when you first saw me with the processional cross. And, yes it feels pretty cool to have that kind of support.
But if I thought for a second that it was really about me, I could get pretty a big head about it all.
So you know what the highlight of the night was for me? Not the five minute standing ovation everyone gave the concelebrating priests, although that blew my mind just how much love you all had to give to them (really, I was thinking, after all some priests have done to hurt the Church in their human frailty, and all the media has done to capitalize on that, a priest today really knows how to appreciate that and how sincere such an act of love like that is). It wasn’t even getting to lead the procession, carrying the cross before 7 seminarians, 2 deacons, 12 priests, and a bishop, as well as 3,000 teens and youth leaders, that stuck out to me most. It was spending our time of Adoration with all of you that were there that meant most to me.
I could have asked to be a part of the Adoration procession, to follow Jesus the whole time. I even could have stayed down at the stage and been there at the altar. But there was no way I was going to miss a chance to pray with you all again. I tell just about everyone I can how amazed I am by the way you all respond to Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. I learn a lot about it in my classes, but I get to live it out with you!
And I will not forget what one of my seminarian brothers said. He was backstage praying as the Blessed Sacrament was brought out to the altar. Before the music began he said it got so quiet that he felt like he was the only one in the theater. Can you imagine how real that silence feels, when 3,000 people suddenly recognize God in their midst, and the individual hears God’s voice in that silence. And that voice is loudly and clearly saying Behold the Lamb, Behold the One who is heard loudest in the Silence. That was our voice too, in that moment. My brother seminarian was so moved by that response to Christ in our midst.
But we, on the other hand, were the ones giving voice to that silence. I missed out on his experience of feeling so intimately alone in prayer before the Lord, but I wish he could have been where I was and seen what I saw. To be there with thousands of teens, some in tears, some with eyes fixed on God and hands reaching out to where only hearts can touch, when Christ Himself comes before us, and all we can do is be silent; that was where I was.
So I hope that we can all find sometime in our life, or even every day, when we’re all just left speechless before God. And not only do I hope God takes away our ability to say anything, but I hope we find ourselves in a place where anything we try to do, say, write, or sing seems just plain not enough. To just let Him overwhelm us! To let His voice overflow from the silence! So when we were together in Adoration in the middle of Six Flags, or anytime really when we feel God’s presence so strongly, whether it be alone or in the midst of thousands of other people, sometimes all we can do is adore Him. Sometimes we just don’t need to fill that silence. Sometimes we need to live in it, meet God in it, and give voice to that silence.