Not too long ago, I happened to be walking by my local parish and felt what I can only describe as a longing to go inside for a few minutes, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Approaching the doors, outside of normal mass times, they were of course, locked. In this day and age, it’s become a necessity to protect the property when it is otherwise unattended. It saddens me to think that a house of God should ever be completely empty. How wonderful a world would it be if church doors could always be open, if the Blessed Sacrament was never alone?
I had been feeling a great deal of frustration that day, and somewhat harried, I’ll admit, but rather than turn away, I decided to approach the rectory and parish offices instead. A compassionate staff person informed me that absolutely, it would be okay (during parish office hours) to go inside. There were no other events taking place at that time (no wedding or funeral masses, etc). I only needed to ask.
So that’s how it came about that on a weekday, in the middle of business hours, I found myself sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament (not exposed) and saying a decade or two of the Rosary, lost in thought.
The situation reminds me of an old Charlie Hill song based on Psalms 84, “Better is One Day” (also covered by Matt Redman). Redman’s cover is included below, if you’re interested:
To quote the psalmist,
“How lovely your dwelling, O Lord of hosts,
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
As the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow, a nest for her young,
My home is by your altars, LORD of hosts, my king and my God!
Blessed are those who dwell in your house!
They never cease to praise you.” (v 2-5).
In that brief moment of sitting there, I reflected on how different my life might have been had my heart been open to Catholicism earlier in life. Would I ever have married? Would I perhaps have found a vocation in consecrated life? Now I will never know.
What I do know for sure is that the psalmist speaks truthfully. As long as the Church stands, there’s a place for weary souls in a chaotic world to find a moment of peace.