Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Do Catholics Go To Church?

 I have mentioned here, I was away from the church for 38 years, and when I came back there were definitely some new practices that I had never seen before in the Catholic Church.  Among the things I had not seen in the Catholic Church when I was a child was people talking before and after Mass as if the church building was nothing more than any other meeting hall. There no longer seems to be a lot of awareness or concern that Jesus Christ - the King of the Universe, our Creator and Savior who poured out his blood on the cross for us - is present in the Tabernacle.  A few weeks ago I was trying to pray the Rosary after Mass, and two people were having a very loud conversation a few pews ahead of me.  I went up to them and asked if they could take it outside.  One of the people gave me a very dirty look as if I was being rude for interrupting their conversation.

I think it is safe to say that for almost all other religions, getting together for worship is also a time to "fellowship" with each other.  I belonged to a small Protestant cult for many years.  "Fellowship" was basically a doctrine of this group.  We were expected to meet and talk with each other after worship services.  It was the Christian thing to do.   This is not so in the Catholic Church.

I think one of the biggest reasons why people no longer seem to have reverence for the Real Presence is because He is basically ignored in the Novus Ordo Mass.  We are suppose to be praying to Christ, but instead our concentration is on the priest, the "eucharistic ministers", the lecturers, maybe dancers, singers, etc., etc.  We are no longer praying.  We're just being entertained.  Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that Mass had become a "closed circle" between priest and congregation.  By just staring at each other instead of entering into prayer with the angels and saints, we forget who is really there.  This is only intensified right after the Consecration when instead of being in deep communion with our Lord, we take our focus completely off of him and turn to each other, shaking hands, waving, kissing, etc.  It is only natural to continue this after Mass.  And it is killing us spiritually.

We need to be reminded that when Catholics go to church - be it for Mass, adoration or just general prayer - we are not going there to meet other people. We are going, or at least should be going, to literally be with Christ. Catholic Churches are not empty buildings like other church buildings, they are not meeting halls. They are not "worship centers." They are a place where we on earth can go to the entrance of heaven - where our Savior, surrounded by angels and saints and the Blessed Mother, is there waiting to meet with us one on one. A Catholic Church is a place unlike any other on this earth. Our Lord is present in the Tabernacle, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the presence of bread.

From Tan Books, "The Blessed Sacrament, God With Us"

Jesus dwells continually in our midst in the Blessed Sacrament. Day and night He abides among us under the lowly species of bread, in the narrow Tabernacles of our churches. Here He is not only our infinitely great God, but also our merciful Saviour and our most faithful friend. The same miracles He wrought for the corporally sick during His earthly life, He performs in our days from the Tabernacle for those spiritually ill. He gives sight to the "blind" by granting them light to see the evil of sin, the value of things eternal, the value of Crosses and sufferings, the value of resignation to the will of God. He gives power of movement to the "lame" by prompting their sluggish will to resolve and act for His love alone. He raises the "dead" to life by calling souls from the death of sin to the life of grace.
For every spiritual ailment His love holds a remedy in readiness. Are you abandoned and sorrowful? On the altar you will find the heavenly Comforter. Are you poor in virtue? In the Tabernacle He who is infinitely rich is waiting to share His treasures with you. Are you troubled on account of your sins, and do you sigh for pardon? Go to the altar! Jesus, the all-merciful God, will receive you with open arms. He will help you to do everything necessary for true repentance. With His own Heart's Blood He will purify your soul and impart to you a strength which will sustain you until you have reached the "Mountain of God," the celestial paradise.
In your temporal needs and your physical ailments, Jesus in the Tabernacle will also be your Friend, your Father and your Physician. Countless is the number of those who, burdened with anxiety and care, have found help and relief before the Tabernacle. Many, too, are the bodily cures wrought through the Blessed Sacrament. At the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, where countless miracles are wrought each year, it is usually at the time the sick are blessed with the Most Blessed Sacrament that the miraculous cures are effected.

Catholics do not go to Church looking to meet other people.  We go because that is where Our Lord and Savior is.  The Catholic Church has monastaries where the monks or nuns never talk to each other at any time.  Their entire focus is on the Lord.  That is how we are to be when we are in front of the Tabernacle.  If you want to visit with people, go somewhere else, or at least wait until you get outside.  A Catholic Church is literally the House of God.  Show him the reverence he so richly deserves.  The next time you are in a Catholic Church, remember who is in the Tabernacle, and act accordingly.

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