One afternoon in time gone by, while riding a bus through the bustling streets of Glasgow, Scotland, I noticed an unusual sight. Across the street from me stood a small church with a peaked roof and its long stained glass windows filling the front wall of the structure. Outside the church hung a “For Sale” sign!
My first emotion was one of sadness. Inside the building all was dark and still. In former days light had shone through these windows as faithful believers in God had gathered to worship in word and song. Candles had lit up the altar and the scent of flowers and incense had filled the church. Soon this holy place would be sold for a price and used as a shop for selling merchandise.
On the day before, 50 miles to the south, in the town of Ayr, I spotted a former church operating as a furniture store. Where once people sang God’s praises, now customers discussed prices of beds and tables. This is not a commentary on religion in Scotland. In Chicago one will find many churches for sale!
The thought came to me at this time that a person who gives up the practice of prayer is like a church up for sale. Formerly, in his inner sanctuary, this person had reached out for God with words of praise, thanks and petition. As it were, a light shone out from his spirit!
Tragically something happened to make this person give up these acts of worship. A darkness came into his spirit along with a deadly stillness. A “For Sale” sign appeared and a former sanctuary of the Lord was put on the market to be sold for a mere pittance.
Our practice of daily communing with God will prevent this tragedy from happening in our lives. Within us our spirits glow and throb with light and love as we humbly speak to the Lord through the hours of the day. God grant that no believer will ever hang a “For Sale” sign outside the holy sanctuary of his spirit.
Ash Wednesday welcomes the beginning of Lent this week; it is a great time to focus on our prayer life and our own inner sanctuary! Be conscious of this sacred place within us! Keep only pure, holy, wholesome thoughts in our minds as befitting a church dedicated to God. Seeing those two churches in Scotland years ago stirred up many wonderful ideas in me about the necessity of daily prayer and keeping myself unspotted from the evil of this world!
Fr. George Mc Kenna
We can choose to be happy or to be discontented with life. Too often the blame for our unhappiness goes to people and circumstances not responsible. We can go through our days evading the issue that we ourselves are creating and causing our own unhappiness. I can live in a swamp, with rags for clothes, with little money, be sickly and still be truly happy. Happiness comes from within.
Why is my disposition generally troubled? Why do I find myself attacking others? Place the blame on myself. I can make a deliberate choice to bring happiness and peace into my life. Start off this way:
“I will happiness for myself. I want it to be my possession. I will place God and His Praise at the center of my life. This I do with deliberate, free choice.”
Love God with an outpouring of praise and thanks in conversation with Him and in public prayer.
Fr. George Mc Kenna