A House of
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer.”
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.
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
“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
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
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
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.
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” ...
analogy is not altogether unfitting. Christ Himself said
that “where your treasure is, there will your heart
be also.” (Saint Luke 12.34)
you making a deposit today, or a withdrawal?
will you go for it?
will you know the difference when you get there?
House is not a social parlor, or a parade of inflated personalities.
It is a House of Prayer.
Boston Catholic journal