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How glorious is the sacred space of our churches, where Holy Mass is offered. How fervently ought we to prepare for our work of praise.
Our Catholic churches are sacred spaces where Christ's divine fire is offered to the Father at Mass
Christ's Holy Mother Mary deserved to be honoured; and there should be visible reminders for us, in our churches, that she who is in Heaven now, praying for us, is God the Father's holy daughter, the Spirit's faithful spouse, the Son's holy and loveable Mother, and our mother too.
If people of another religion were to gaze into some of our noisy churches, would they believe - Christ asked - that our claim is true: that Christ our God is adored and Present there?
It is God's wish that our Catholic churches be recognisably houses of prayer. We enter, on the threshold of Heaven; and it is right that we should see reminders of our fellow-worshippers, the Saints and Angels - and of the Saviour Who welcomes us from the tabernacle - and not see merely a bare plaster wall.
It is a tragedy that two generations of Catholics have not learned, in their homes or schools or churches, the importance of kneeling for prayer and of showing reverence to Christ by genuflection and by attendance at Benediction. It is also sad that many have never seen or taken part in a Eucharistic Procession.
Just as, in an art gallery, it is tragic if pictures have been cut from their frames, and visitors can only gaze at empty spaces, so it is also tragic, the Lord showed me, when the Catholic faithful must look at empty spaces in their churches where once they found beautiful and expressive imagery, to inspire them.
Some Catholic churches have neither a crucifix in them, nor a statue of Our Lady. Just as an art-lover would see it as a tragedy if all the pictures in a gallery were to have been cut out of their frames, so faithful Catholics are not wrong to call it a 'tragedy' when a new church is built - or an old one stripped - and those who pray there must face bare walls, without reminders of Gospel scenes, or Heavenly realities.
If we enter a little door labelled 'The Past' we enter a world where Catholic churches were adorned with glorious images, to the glory of God and to inspire and educate the faithful. There is no reason why good Catholics today cannot commission and install powerful reminders of the Creation, of Christ and His Mother Mary, of the Last Judgement, and Heaven and Hell, and other subjects.
As the Lord gazes upon our world, it is His wish that the faithful can find, in their churches, visual reminders of what has really happened in history: for example, the infancy of Jesus Christ, and His Crucifixion. Why should Catholics look at bare walls, in Church, when they could have reminders of the foundation of the Faith?
If we look at those churches of past times which were decorated with colourful imagery and biblical scenes, we can see the importance of the altar, where Jesus Christ is made Present in the Mass. All that is beautiful here has been made so, in His honour. He deserves our adoration. He deserves to come to a place more like a throne-room than a garage.
The little child who was born of Mary is the Divine Saviour Who is worthy of all the glory we can offer Him today in our churches. In crossing the threshold we are in a sacred space, consecrated for the praise of the Blessed Trinity. What God always wants to see in our hearts is the simplicity and humility which were in the heart of the infant Jesus.
There are things taking place in Catholic Churches which are outrageous; some of the worst have been interruptions to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in New York, by people who ridicule and despise the Church's teaching on morals.
The Lord wants us to remember that our Catholic churches have been built for the glory of God and not the glorification or parishioners or Clergy. That is why it is not appropriate to have self-assertive, frivolous or irreverent behaviour taking place within.
People do not please Christ by their complaints about traditional garments for the Bishops, or about beautiful furnishings which adorn many of our churches. These are for the Glory of God, the dignity of the occasion - the Sacred Liturgy - and the nobility of the Sacred Ministry, not in order to draw attention to individuals but to their sacred office.
From the beginning, Christian life has been lived out using symbols and signs. What signs are there, in some modern churches, which have filthy entrances, and modernistic crucifixes, a hidden Blessed Sacrament, and no statue of Our Lady - in an area where people chat and cheer as if at a football rally. St. Pius X would be horrified by one church dedicated to his memory.
It is a sad thing for the faithful, the Lord explained, when a church is built which has few indications that it is a House of prayer, and where there are few of the signs and symbols which have marked our Catholic devotions, buildings and practices since the early days of Church life; and in a place that looks like a grubby stadium people behave as if in a stadium, instead of with reverent silence before Christ our God.
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