I love walking into an empty, dark church, preferably one that smells of musty hymnals, beeswax, and aged incense that has seeped into the walls. I love seeing only the light of the altar lamp illuminating dimly but with the comforting singularity of being the only source of light in the entire building.
I think I love walking into an empty church because there are fewer distractions. I’m not worried about people looking at me and what I’m doing. I’m not concerned about how I need to help out before Mass or with music ministry. I’m not herding children into a pew with barely enough space for seven people. I’m not in an unfamiliar church searching for Christ’s presence in the tabernacle, or making mental judgements of the church’s art or lack thereof.
Of course I’m not being distracted by other people because I’m the only one there!
I can think of all my own hangups of when I enter a church and compare them with the untempered joy of the Maccabees from today’s First Reading in 1 Maccabees 4. Their joy is so pure and heartfelt, a joy in simply being able to worship God again after years of persecution. They are so grateful to have their sanctuary back, their holy ground and sole place to worship the Lord according to Jewish law.
Joy comes not simply from being able to access this holy place but to worship God again in the way of their ancestors. The Maccabees are rejoicing in every aspect of their prayer, worship, and temple.
We are so privileged to be given Jesus Himself physically present in each and every tabernacle in Catholic churches around the world, but so often I don’t recognize His presence and the sacredness of the space within my own heart and mind. I want to capture the joy of the Maccabees in worshiping and praying to the Lord every time I enter a church.The Maccabees are rejoicing in every aspect of their prayer, worship, and temple. // @christyisinger Click To Tweet
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Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here. You can find out more about her here.