I like to repeat Peter's profession of faith whenever I am in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, whether it before Masss or in Adoration. Peter was right; why would we want to be anywhere else? Unfortunately for Peter, his heavenly vision and moment of pure bliss also abruptly ended. While I don't claim to experience ecstasy as some saints have, I do feel that I am on Holy ground when in His presence. Usually, I only get a few precious moments of prayer before I have to prepare my music or tend to a child so I try to make the most of my time.
Attending a different Mass this weekend, filling in as cantor, I made it a point to go early so to take advantage of the sacrament of confession being offered. There were only about a dozen or so people in the church, mainly of an older generation, so one would think it would be a great time for prayer. One would think...
Ecstasy? Not even close. I spent my time praying for my own patience from the loud conversations, the man chastising the young mother and her son for sitting in "his pew," and a woman yelling across the aisle at another man for allegedly cutting her off at the confessional when she was nowhere near it.
Why do people think that the church is a social club? His pew??? Cut me off? Are you kidding me???
I was at first hoping for a cleansing of the templemoment but instead tried to focus on my prayer: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Jesus' words from the cross also seemed appropriate asking forgiveness for they "know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
Shouldn't they, though?
I am no better a sinner, I admit, but sometimes it seems as if no one knows why they are there. The youth get blamed a lot for this but they are not always the culprits. Many have also grown up without being taught (which is a topic for another day). But these were adults, old enough to know better, and from a generation who came of age in a sort of golden age of American Catholicism. This was a time when churches were full, vocations were plentiful, and you dare not make a sound in church of there would consequences when you got home (so my my parents told me).
I'm not trying to single out a particular age group but my recent experience was jut an eye opener to a larger problem in our parishes. We forget who is present in the tabernacle, the awesome miracle of the consecration, and the amazing gift of the Eucharist. The next time we visit a church or attend Mass, let's try to remember that we are guests in God's house and focus on Him, rather than ourselves. Let's get back that sense of the sacred and like St. Peter, truly know how good it is that we are there.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket: it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. Mt. 5, 14-16