My dear brother and sisters,
As we struggle through this process of constant shifts and changes, a few thoughts have come to me these days. The first imagery was regarding the moving of the sacred altar and crucifix from the sanctuary and leaving it empty for renovation. During the past 25 years, this sacred sanctuary and altar has been our refuge and strength in times of joy and sorrow. Many sacraments were celebrated, both solemn and simple; many were baptized, confirmed, and married. Countless milestone events were celebrated with gratitude and pomp!
After the sacred altar and Ambo were taken out for renovation, I spent so much time alone in that empty church, moved with indescribable emotions! I Prayed silently, gathering all those Holy Masses and sacraments administered in the church throughout the many years. I felt so sad inside! Soon enough I thought about my ailing mother who is totally dependent on others. I could see my mother in the place of that empty sanctuary. Once an icon of hard work, a faith hero, a role model, active and vibrant mother now remains quiet, bedridden, with silent prayers on her lips… The first sanctuary of prayer in my life was our family prayer time and it was she who lead the family prayer! She is silent now! My current altar where I celebrated Mass and sacrament is also empty and silent now!
Our sanctuary is under renovation; we are waiting to see it beautifully completed so that we can, once again, offer glorious sacrifices to the Lord. My mother is also waiting for the glorious days in which she will see face to face her Lord and Master, whom she loved and worshipped through her life.
This Church sanctuary renovation time can be an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our families and our priorities. The Church calls the Catholic home a “domestic Church”. What about your family? The book of Deuteronomy 11:18-21 advised the Israelites how to honor God and develop a sanctuary in each one’s heart. In Short, let’s not forget the proven slogan: “The family that prays together, stays together.”
Fr. James Cherickal