Before the entrance procession moves down the aisle, take a look around you and be aware of all that is in this sacred place: the cross, the statuary, the Baptismal font, the ambo, the lectern, the altar, the beautiful altar cloths, the floral decorations, the people. When you entered your pew, did you genuflect (a gesture of reverence and respect) to honour the Real Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle? Tabernacle derives from the word "sheekinah", Hebrew for tent; we recall the stories of the Ark of the Covenant ( the tablets of the 10 Commandments) being set up in the Tent of Meeting by the Hebrews in the desert (see Exodus 40). When Jesus says "I will dwell with you, I will abide with you" these are more literally translated "I will pitch my tent among you." The people of God: we have come together as the Mystical Body of Christ with our hopes and fears, our joy and our pain to worship our God and ask God to make us holy. On entering our pew, we kneel to pray, "to recognize and to adore that Glory from which the lesser glory that crowns our own species proceeds" (Thomas Howard, On being Catholic). The following is an expression of our disposition before the throne of God (prayer from the Chaldean Liturgy):
"Before the glorious seat of Thy Majesty, O Lord,
and the exalted throne of Thine honour and the awful
judgement seat of Thy burning love and the
absolving altar which Thy command hath set up,
and the place where Thy glory dwelleth, we, Thy
people and the sheep of Thy fold, do kneel with
thousands of the cherubim singing Alleluia, and
many times ten thousand seraphim and archangels
acclaiming Thine holiness, worshipping,
confessing, and praising Thee at all times,
O Lord of All."
Do we see the face of Jesus in the people around us? Do they see the face of Jesus in us? Reminder: this is not a time to socialize or read the bulletin.
(taken with permission from Anne Perez, Dir. Religious Ed., Holy Family Parish, St. Petersburg, Fla.)