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Terrible is this Place !


January 4, 2019

And trembling he (Jacob) said: “How terrible is this place! This is no other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:17

After waking from a dream, Jacob made this statement and proceeded to rename the city from Luza to Bethel, which was located just north of Jerusalem.

Holy Mother Church has for many years used this passage which speaking or referring to churches. It is found in the Introit of the Common of the Dedication of the Church.

In its two-thousand year history, the Church has built many churches throughout the world. The smallest are barely large enough to have a small altar and room enough for a few people. The largest of churches are the great cathedrals and basilicas scattered throughout the world.

Churches have four notable areas: the sanctuary, where the sacrifice takes place; the nave, generally where the faithful sit for Mass; the sacristy, where the priest vests for Mass; the vestibule, the entrance area of the church.

The church is the House of God. It is the House of God because Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is present in the tabernacle. This building is not like any other building or to be compared with Protestant churches which do not contain the Blessed Sacrament.

It is indeed “a terrible place.” The word terrible here must be understood correctly. It does NOT mean that which is bad or horrible, but great, full of awe, and in some sense a place to be feared.

Catholics are taught to genuflect as they enter and leave the church. Why? Because Our Lord is present and the genuflection is an act of adoration. Why do we remain quiet in the church? The House of God is a house of prayer and adoration and therefore, necessitates a place which is quiet. It would be disrespectful to talk, laugh and carry on in a Catholic church. The actions of Modern Catholics in their once Catholic churches tell you those who act in this way no longer have any respect for or belief in the Blessed Sacrament.

For most of the Church’s history Catholics have been taught to enter into the church, bless themselves with Holy Water, genuflect before entering the pew, and once entering the pew to kneel and pray. All of this is done because it is a terrible place! It is a house of prayer. It is the House of God!

Catholics everywhere would do well to examine their consciences concerning their conduct in church. This is not meant to imply all have sinned. Perhaps, though, proper attention at Holy Mass is missing, there is unnecessary talking or one does not adore Our Lord in prayer.

One is also reminded of the necessity of dressing modestly and properly while in the House of God. Women and girls should wear dresses or skirts which are at least two inches below the knee while sitting. Low necklines and slits above the knee are immodest and therefore, unacceptable. The shoulders of women should be covered at all times. The wearing of tee shirts or sport insignia shirts is not acceptable for women or men.

Men should not wear blue jeans or something less than their best. Shorts and tee shirts are unacceptable. Is a polo type shirt your best? Dress shoes should be worn by both men and women. Therefore, all types of tennis shoes, or sports shoes are unacceptable.

There is a reason why the Church has encouraged Catholics to wear their Sunday best. You should give your best to God each Sunday and Holyday. Anything less is unacceptable. Why? In the same manner that a Catholic ought to tithe (their best and first), should they present themselves to God, for it is indeed the House of God. When one understands this correctly, it is all about the proper disposition or attitude. The only reason anyone does not wear their Sunday best which should be modest, is due to their rebellion against the right order and proper decorum commanded by God and Holy Mother Church.

There are many sects and denominations which claim that God will accept you coming to church in any old one. Will He? Did He accept Cain’s offering of leftover vegetables?

On September 28, 2018, the first Holy Mass (a True Mass-a Latin Tridentine Mass) was celebrated in the new Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lubbock, Texas. The church has exterior stucco and steel walls. The interior has drywall and acoustical ceilings with the latest LED lighting. Needless to say it does not have any Roman or Gothic architecture. Nor does it have any stained glass windows. But yet, it is a House of God. It is a Terrible Place because Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament.

One is filled with heartfelt gratitude after the time, effort and sacrifices of all who helped bring about the completion of this newest church building of Holy Mother Church and the Franciscan Friars.

It is here where the Holy and Eternal Sacrifice will be offered each day. The Sacrifice of Calvary will be said in this new church in West Texas, a region of cotton and cattle on an elevated plain of 3,250 feet above sea level where years ago the buffalo roamed freely and in great numbers.

May this new church, which was blessed on October 7, 2018, be found pleasing in the sight of Almighty God. May it be a place of solace, peace and refuge for all the clergy who offer Holy Mass and the faithful who attend the Eternal Sacrifice.

Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM