Skip to main content

What happens when you walk into a Catholic church?

I've taught everything from CCD to formal high school religion class to RCIA, and I always love talking about what happens when you walk into a Catholic church.  (Those of you who know me are thinking,  "She loves talking about ANYthing", but it's an Irish thing, so....)

Why is walking into a Catholic church different than walking into any other building?  I mean, there are a lot of really nice buildings around - art museums, lovely houses, enchanting stores and restaurants, even other houses of worship.  Why is a Catholic church different?


Because when you walk into a Catholic church, you enter into eternity.

You enter into a place where time has no meaning.  It simply is.  It's the place where God dwells, and God is eternal, so there is no time.  At least, not "time" as we humans understand it.  There's no clock next to the crucifix, no timer going off to let you know that "time is up", no schedule that tells you when to come and when to go.  (Yeah, I know that there is another Mass on Sunday morning, but you don't have to clear out.  You can stay.)

Christ is present.  No, not just "I feel warm-and-fuzzy-close-to-Jesus-when-I'm-here".  He is actually present:  Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Tabernacle, and made Present in the Sacrifice of the Mass.  As close to you there as if He were standing in front of you.  You won't be any closer.  And Christ, in His Divine Self, exists outside of time:  He is Eternal God.  You get to be there with Him, in this timeless place we call church.

It is an awesome idea that, on Sunday mornings, when you're worried about whether your son combed his hair, or if you're going to jog down the aisle just ahead (or just after) the priest, or whether you forgot to write a check out for the collection basket, that as soon as you open that door:  you have entered into eternity.  You are present with God.  You are no longer in Sparta, or in White Plains, or in Sacramento or Paris, or in Santo Domingo.  You're in an eternal space with God.

I suppose that those of us who are Catholic always "feel" a certain something when we are in a Catholic church, regardless of where it is.  It feels like home.  And this is part of the reason:  God is there, always.  A Catholic church is a step out of the mundane, the ordinary, the profane.  It is Heaven on earth.  And it is right down the street.  Go.

Comments

  1. This is so, so right. I have been avoiding Mass, for a reason, I was mad at God, and when I am mad, and sad to boot, I cry. I knew I would walk into church and just cry and cry. I know He is there. I finally went last week, but I went early so I could get my crying out of the way before people got there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Megan! I've been there! I'm glad you were finally able to spend time with Him!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I love comments, even if you don't agree, but please don't leave anonymous posts. A well-mannered reader leaves a name!

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …