Pope Francis: Mass is not a time for idle chitchat

Mass is the highest form of prayer and not an appropriate moment for small talk, Pope Francis said.

At church, Catholics should spend their time in silence before Mass, preparing “to meet with Jesus” instead of engaging in “chitchat,” the pope said Nov. 15 during his weekly general audience.

“Silence is so important,” he said. “Remember what I told you last time: we are not going to a show. Silence prepares us and accompanies us.”

The pope continued his new series of audience talks on the Mass, reflecting on the Eucharist as a form of prayer that is “the highest, the most sublime and, at the same time, the most concrete” way of encountering God’s love.

“This is the greatest grace: to experience that the Eucharist is the privileged moment to be with Jesus and, through him, with God and with our brothers and sisters,” the pope said.

In the Gospels, he continued, Jesus teaches his disciples that the first thing needed to pray “is to know how to say ‘father’” and to trust in God with the humility of a child.

Christians also must allow themselves to be “surprised by the living encounter with the Lord,” he said, and not simply “talk to God like a parrot,” repeating the words of prayers without thinking.

“The encounter with God is a living encounter,” the pope said departing from his prepared remarks. “It is not an encounter of a museum, it is a living encounter. And we go to Mass, not a museum! We go to a living encounter with the Lord.”

Pope Francis said the Mass is also a gift and a consolation where Christians discover that God’s greatest surprise is that he “loves us even in our weakness.”

“The Lord encounters our frailty,” the pope said. “This is the environment of the Eucharist. This is prayer.”

Pope Francis autographs a Lamborghini presented by representatives of the Italian automaker at the Vatican Nov. 15. The car will be a auctioned and the proceeds given to charity. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

A car auctioned for the poor

While a Lamborghini would make a stylish popemobile, Pope Francis has decided to auction off the one he was given by the Italian automaker to aid several charities close to his heart.

The pope was presented with a one-of-a-kind white and gold Lamborghini Huracan by the luxury car manufacturer Nov. 15, just before making his way to his general audience in the standard popemobile.

The pope signed and blessed the automobile, which will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s. The proceeds, the Vatican said, will be given to the pope, who already has chosen to fund three projects: the resettlement of Christians in Iraq’s Ninevah Plain; support for women rescued from human trafficking and forced prostitution; and assistance to the suffering in Africa.

Specifically, part of the proceeds from the auction will go to Aid to the Church in Need; the Pope John XXIII community, an Italian organization that assists women victims of prostitution and human trafficking; and to the International Group of Hand Surgeon Friends.

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