Traditional Mass

Friday, October 26, 2007

Continued . . .

46--What is the symbolism or significance of the church door?

Often we have crossed its threshold, and each time it has spoken to us. Have you ever listened to the message of the church door?

Let us hear what it says first: "You are now leaving the exterior for the interior."

Let us be recollected for a moment, and try to comprehend the deep and symbolic language of the church door. . . . The "exterior" is the world with its beauty that allures, and also with its ugliness and tumult. The world resembles a vast market place, with people rushing hither and thither and elbowing one another. Far be from us the thought that in the world holiness is impossible. Nevertheless, certain conditions are requisite for sanctity. . . . The door, then, separates us from the world with its bustle and stir; and introduces us to the interior, where all is silence and recollection--to the sanctuary wherein dwells the Prisoner of Love! Assuredly, all things are God's handiwork; and He is to be met with in the tiniest of His creatures, for everywhere God beckons to us and invites us to think of Him. But we all know that God reserves for Himself especially consecrated places--just as He reserves for Himself especially consecrated souls. . . . All, unfortunately, do not respond to His call; preferring the ephemeral pleasures of this world to the divine intimacies. . . .

The door is placed, therefore, between the outside and the inside--between that which belongs to the world, and that which is vowed to God. The steps of the stairway have already prepared us to lift up our souls to the Lord--let us prove it by our lack of precipitation as we cross the threshold. Slowly opening the door, let us open our hearts to its language so rich in meaning: "Leave without whatever is not of God: frivolous thoughts, earth-bound desires, vain care, curiosity, worldly pleasures. . . . Purify yourselves, for you are entering God's house!"

And lest we forget this purification, the holy water font offers us holy water at the door. . . . Let us say, then, with St. Francis:
"Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water,
For greatly useful, lowly, precious, chaste, is she."
Again, it is that souls may be purified before they enter God's house, that baptismal fonts are placed in the vestibules of churches.
[From 'Your Mass and Your Life,' to be continued . . .]