Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King
Thou art the King of Glory, O Lord Jesus Christ; when Thou didst take upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's Womb

Friday, February 10, 2012

Transubstantiation and Irreverence in the Nave of a Church

I'm always glad to see people come to pay homage to the Lord throughout the week by offering Holy Mass.  Daily Mass is not obligatory (unless it's a Holy Day of Obligation, namely (in the US) the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin (December 8), the Nativity of the Lord (December 25), the Divine Motherhood of the Virgin (January 1), the Ascension of the Lord (40 days after Easter), the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (August 15), and All Saints (November 1)), and it is great that people have it in their hearts to worship God during those optional times.  It is the most pleasing thing that anyone can do for the Lord and the most helpful way to sustain the soul of a Christian.

Although it is none of my business, I can't help but wonder what others' motives are for assisting at Mass during the week.  Just curious...

However, it does trouble me how oftentimes after the celebration of Mass in the Ordinary Form, people gather in the back of the "nave" (if you can call it that in the modern style architecure churches) to have friendly conversation in normal speaking voice or louder!  (The sanctuary is where the priest offers Mass.)  Multiply that by however many people are there and you sound like you're in a social hall, conference center, or stadium.  Why can't they do that in the vestibule?  Cannot they see that some are trying to offer their Thanksgivings after Mass and spend time in prayer?  It is very distracting and the feelings of irritation are hardly conducive to the disposition one should have during prayer.

Do not get me wrong, we are a community of believers and we should interact cordially and socially with each other, and should be friends with each other, but the vestibule is not that far of a walk and it is very disrespectful and inconsiderate of those who are praying because that is what the church is for, a place to offer sacrifice, and prayer is a sacrifice.

Do I need to mention that our Lord is present in the Tabernacle?  We do believe in Transubstantiation as Roman Catholics; the doctrine has even been raised to the dignity and solemnity of a dogma binding on all the faithful.  This means that God, in His divinity and humanity, is physically present in the consecrated Hosts which were formerly bread and wine, but have now become His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  God is very much present in Dwelling Place (Tabernacle) where He is enthroned to be adored and worshipped by His people Israel (the Church) just as you and I would be physically present in church.  This is basic doctrine. 

Would we behave so carelessly before the throne of a temporal power such as a king, president, or emperor? 

Anytime we are in the physical Presence of God (we're always in His presence because He fills all things and spaces), our attention should be directly on Him.  Speaking in the nave is not disrespectful in and of itself, but it seems to logically follow that if we believe what we truly profess to believe about Transubstantiation, and knowing that the Lord is dwelling in the Tabernacle, that we would be very peculiar and reverent at all times before His Face. 

That God, the Almighty and Omnipotent, has condescended to dwell among us His creation is a very beautiful thing to contemplate, but can we please give to Him His due?  We should be trying to raise Him up as best we can.  We should watch and be mindful of how we present ourselves before Him, what our thoughts and dispositions are, how we behave and speak.  We are before the Holy of holies and as such, everything should be dignified and reverent, but it has to start from the heart before it becomes externalized.

Many times I have thought about writing to the parish on this matter, but since I already have a reputation as a die-hard rad trad (nothing could be further from the truth), I just don't bother.  Also, I wonder how well I really am praying and how desirous am I to commune with God spiritually that I try to ignore the distractions.  After all, I pray in loud, noisy environments all the time (classrooms, work, driving (not so noisy; I hardly listen to the radio), walking outside, in Wal-Mart, anywhere really), and although I would like the blessed silence of a church (as is usually the case at an Extraordinary Form Mass), I should be able to pray without it. 

For nothing can separate us from the love of God (Epistle of the St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans VIII, 39).


  1. just focus on your prayers Chris! Be a good example for others in your deeds, and dont allow yourself to dwell on any judgmental thoughts of others. i know its easier said than done, but strive to see only your own sins.

    1. Thank you so much, Jesse and I really appreciate you reading! I do try to be a good example, but I often fall short and just need God's help. I'm getting better at ignoring judgmental thoughts of others and just being in God's Presence. Normally, I just act as if I'm so immersed in prayer that their chatter doesn't really bother me, but yesterday I got so frustrated I very conspicuously put my hands over my hears kind of obnoxiously, but later on I felt bad and prayed that I would just set a better example. But these are people who come to Mass all the time, I just feel like they should know.

  2. i hear ya -- i certainly get annoyed by people in Church - but then again, i usually find myself doing the exact same thing as them at some point. Let's not be the Pharisee and thank God we're not like the Publican! Rather let us be like the Publican and weep for our own sins!