Respecting the sanctity of the sanctuary

Went to First Friday Mass this morning.  Talk about timing…just at the moment the priest was starting to speak the words of Institution, someone’s cell phone goes off…the person eventually silenced it, only to have it beep signalling a missed call.  Then it signalled a message.  Please, please, please, silence your phone for the time you’re in Mass.  Or leave it out in the car.  Nearly anything can wait til after Mass.

It’s not just that, though that’s a big one.  When I go to Mass and enter the Church, I’m supposed to be leaving the World, and entering Heaven.  I never bring my cell phone into church.   I keep my conversations with friends in the parish for later. I act as though I’m worshipping.  I focus on the altar, the Tabernacle, the crucifix.  I try not to people watch. I don’t even read the bulletin.  Once I enter the sanctuary, my focus is supposed to be the altar.

So consider the following when you go to Mass.  Just leave as much of the World outside. Cell phones, pens and check books, offenses against you, your mortgage and work woes.  Dress as you would if you were entering heaven (the altar, remember, is where the heavenly Jerusalem meets earth).  Bring with you your sins, your sacrificial offering, your prayers, and your heart.

Look, I understand that some people cannot do the above, for them, put your phone on vibrate.  In a quiet Mass setting, even that will be audible. In general, just act as if the sanctuary is sacred ground.  Remember, Moses was told to remove his sandals when he entered sacred ground…


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