A House of
is written, My house shall be a house of prayer."Saint Luke 19.46
a place to socialize, and definitely not
a place of idle chatter
Nor is it a
the latest gossip, sports coverage, or your daughter's outstanding
you are sitting awaiting Mass, it is good,
now and then, to remind yourself ... just by the way
... that God Himself lives there —
in Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed
Sacrament of the Altar ... you know ... that little gold
box or turret most often shunted off to some obscure and
unobtrusive side as an afterthought lest it overshadow or
compete with the various "Lay Ministries" (music, lector,
greeter, "servers", (extraordinary) "ministers",
etc. ... which clamor for your attention.
God just happens
to be in that little box (it is
called the Tabernacle). Perhaps you are not aware
of it. You are not alone. As John Paul II pointed out:
only do [most Catholics] not know the basic aspects
of Christian dogma, but in great part [they have]
lost even the memory of the cultural elements of
When was the
last time you entered a Church where the congregation, awaiting
the opening procession, was filled, not with chatter, but
with reverential silence, steeped in prayer, meditation,
reflection ... preparation?
and there a person kneels and prays, but most are busy with
things other than God
They are turned
casually backwards in their pews, arms spread out and relaxed
over the backs of the benches, laughing and chortling with
the people behind them, or waving frantically to people
15 rows behind them who are themselves too busy talking
to notice the waving hand now attended by a calling voice!
In the meanwhile, the ever present "ministers-of-this-that-and-the-other"
running breathlessly between aisles and pews to greet this
one, or to briefly sit and talk with that one — whatever
redounds most to the notability of their benign and indispensible
is greeted ... except God. So many are desperately vying
to call attention to themselves ... except God.
He's shy in
In God we Trust
In fact, if
we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that the atmosphere,
by and large, is not unlike what we encounter in our banks
as we await our disbursements and find acquaintances in
the lobby. The difference is that the bank will not tolerate
the loitering and we are decidedly less boisterous in our
comportment. We could even say that we experience a more
subdued and quiet sense of reverence in the bank before
money than we do in Church before God.
To carry the
analogy a bit further, we find that most, in fact, have
not come to Church to receive the Deposit
of Faith at all; rather, for a Withdrawal
... a withdrawal from the "Treasury of the Merits of the
Saints" – and from that curious gold box so carefully
(and so ... revealingly) segregated from what is now inanely
called the "worship space" ...
is not altogether unfitting. Christ Himself said that
your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
(Saint Luke 12.34)
Are you making
a deposit today, or a withdrawal?
you go for it?
And will you
know the difference when you get there?
is not a social parlor, or a parade of inflated personalities.
It is a House of Prayer.
the Boston Catholic journal
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