to continue with my contributions to the discussions over at Gerald Augustinus' place, it's time to recite some of the wonders and glories of my pretty good parish.
We are buried with Christ in baptism, and rise up again with Him to fullness of life. We remind ourselves of this each time we come, signing ourselves with the holy waters of our baptism. We are then drawn, pulled in our depths,
to the altar of God, who gives joy to our youth, where our Lord offers Himself to us, for us. And. above the altar, to honor it, and to keep our wandering attentions where they belong,
the corona, "a form of honor canopy suspended from the ceiling, without pillars", the architectural dictionaries say; but in this case a true crown, a crown of thorns, the crown we gave our Lord and the only one He ever wore on our earth. And, a crucifix, very explicit about the stretched sinews and the glorious wounds. And it works on the human level, also, for as one is distracted there, the apostles in the window catch the eyes, and the apostles pass one's gaze to the archbishops' portraits, which take one to the corona, and the bolt from heaven that split the Temple curtain twain, and the toes of the crucifix, put one's attention right back where it ought to be, the altar of the Lord.
We are there, the Church militant upon the earth, together with the saints in heaven, the Church triumphant, physically represented by the apostles in the windows and the archbishops in the upper arches, by Maria Mater Ecclesiae whose image is in my sidebar,
by Blessed John, and by the other saints whose images will fill the other shrine spaces in due time. And we worship.
And nobody is begrudgingly there because of the pain of mortal sin. A wise elder of the parish, named Dennis, pointed that out to me a few weeks ago; that there were no sullen folk leaning against the back wall holding it up, as there were in my childhood parish. (my childhood priest had a special soft spot on his soul for those unwilling people, his "pillars".) Now there are some people, like my cybernemesis Terrence, who would see that as a bad thing --- but I don't. I think it is a great thing that everyone who comes is there to worship our Lord in beauty of holiness, or at least are there seeking because they want to desire to worship and praise our Lord. Of course, now the challenge is to bring our friends and acquaintances who have no desire to worship to have that desire, to know that Jesus loves them and wants them to come to Him and be with Him, alongside of us with Him. In the beauty of holiness. Receiving Jesus in the very closest way possible, body, blood, soul, divinity --- and in a true way becoming what one receives.
Besides Mass, Morning Prayer is celebrated each morning, and the church is open all day every weekday for prayer and adoration. There are abundant opportunities for continuing religious education for adults, as well as formation for children in cooperation with the neighboring parishes, and an active and sound RCIA program. Also many opportunities for service to others, including a free cafe offering lunch six days a week along with bible studies and 12-step activities. The Cafe even lets me serve!
All in all, even though Gerald Augustinus declared it non grata, it's still a pretty good parish......