“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer.” (Saint
a place to socialize, and definitely not
a place of idle chatter
is it a place for
the latest gossip, sports
coverage, or your daughter's outstanding SAT scores.
As 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, “altar 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:
“Not 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
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?
Here 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
Everyone is greeted ... except God. So many are desperately
vying to call attention to themselves ... rather
than emptying themselves through worship in order
to receive God.
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” ...
The analogy is not altogether unfitting. Christ Himself
“where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Saint Luke 12.34)
Are you making a deposit today, or a withdrawal?
Where will you go for it?
And will you know the difference when you get there?
God’s House is not a social parlor, or a parade of inflated
personalities. It is a House of Prayer.
the Boston Catholic journal