Does Anybody Realize Who’s In There?????????

On 11/16/2013, in Catholic, Fact, by Tom Voiland

A History of Inconcievable Reverance (by today’s standards)

Judeo-Catholic history is fraught with examples of absolute reverance when believers were in God’s presence, up until say 40 or so years ago when Vatican II sought to “modernize” the Church.  It is utterly inconcievable to today’s Catholics what was expected of our forefathers – the Jews – and Catholic of old regarding the responsibility to be reverent in the presence of God.  It was an inseperable part of practicing their religion.  As a matter of fact, it is the foundational element of the faiths.

“Moses, remove you sandals, for you are on holy ground”

To Jews, the Ark of the Covenant was an embodiment of God’s presence with the Israelites. If someone approached the Ark, they would effectively be in God’s presence.  For this reason, God had given the Israelites many rules concerning the Ark of the Covenant. It was to be kept in the Most Holy Place in the temple, hidden from view by a curtain (Ex 26:33). Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and then only after he had undergone ceremonial cleansing, made sacrifices to atone for his sins and the nation’s sins, and burned incense to conceal the atonement cover (Lev 16). When the ark was moved, it was covered with at least 3 layers of cloth by the priests to protect others from seeing it (Num 4:5-6, 15, 18-20); the priests/Levites carried it and everyone else had to stay about a thousand yards away (Josh 3:4). These laws enforced the concept of God’s holiness: sinful people couldn’t be in his presence, not even the high priest.

From Black Veils and Suits to High Heals and T-Shirts

When I lived in Brooklyn and my family attended Mass at St. Mark, first everyone dressed appropriately.  And you entered a large gothic-styled building adorned with marble, gold, high ceilings, stained glass, the smell of incense and more.  But of course!  Christ is in the tabernacle, all our treasure is “His”, so the Church returned it to him in a way befitting of a king.

At Mass, ladies were very careful to not put their womanhood on display, sometimes wearing veils as a sign of respect (deserved no doubt).  Men wore suits or at least Sunday clothes.  When you entered the Church, you were to make the sign of the cross with a dip of Holy Water, genuflect before entering the pew, kneel and pray to prepare for the momentous event that was minutes from occurring, and you were to participate in the Mass, not just stand there like a cigar store Indian.  But most of all, you were to shut up and leave all of normal daily life outside, for one hour.

What About Now?

For the most part where I live in Florida, we enter buildings that have been constructed in a post-Vatican II motif.  Some with the risen Christ hanging behind the altar, no stained glass, no depictions of martyred Saints, no incense, bright as the sun, etc..  Some looking like an art museum with the altar in the middle, and the Tabernacle to the side inside a glass tank and Stations of the Cross that look like something out of a Salvador Dali Museum.  And the attendees?  Women in tight jeans, sundresses showing their large – sometimes fake – breasts.  Others in skin tight skirts with stilettos.  Men in shorts and t-shirts, with flip flops.  What the hell is going on????????

And then there is the constant chattering like people are at the first showing of the Phantom of the Opera, kids running around, people reading the bulletin, the Narthex full of parishioners having conversations about anything but preparing for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  What’s THE most disappointing part of all this?  The Pastors allow it.  The Church itself allows it.  Why?  Because as one liberal Pastor at my Church once said to me, “It’s not my place to tell people how to dress or act, I am to Shepard them and be thankful they are here.”  You have got to be kidding me?

Does Anyone Realize Who’s In There?

When you enter a Catholic Church and specifically the Nave, you are IN the presence of God.  He IS in the Tabernacle: His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  In fairness to all of us, this is hard to fathom.  However, Catholics believe (or should) this real presence to be the case.  So if we do believe, we should act accordingly, act to the letter of what is expected.  That is, total and unequivocal reverence.  Why don’t most of us?  Because the Pastors are afraid to alienate the sheep, so as to ensure their return.  What?  Huh?  From time immemorial, the Church practiced insanely stringent reverence when in the presence of God.  This is what He commands.  Who are we to take it lightly?  In our everyday lives we do things to show respect that are not in the same universe as Christ’s real presence.  In unison, we pull over to the side of the road for emergency vehicles.  When we enter and remain at a library, we all stay totally quiet out of respect for people reading and concentrating.  In this era of political correctness, there are dozens of examples where we are to act accordingly, even if it’s man-made bullcrap.

Mass is not social event; it’s an obligation mandated by God the Father and promulgated by the Church Fathers.  It is an honor to witness the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the REAL presence of Christ.  We should enter in utter realization that as sinner we don’t even belong there, but Christ still invites us.  And we should leave totally humbled and feeling blessed.

We’re not evangelicals jumping up and down while a rock band blasts out music in a building that might as well be a VFW hall.  We’re Catholics!  We are part of Christ’s Church on Earth, Christ himself.  Wake up and smell the incense and bow down to the almighty like Moses did so long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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