1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
Teresa of Avila said, "You find God in yourself and yourself in God."
My earliest memories of "going to church" involve my father taking two of my four brothers, Dave, Tim and me to 6:30 am Mass on Sundays. Mom got to sleep in. We would go to what then looked like a big building to me. Today, it’s not even a decent size gym and a new truly big beautiful building has replaced it. At the Offertory, my father would give us each five cents to put in the basket. The best part of going to Mass with my father though was afterwards we would go home and Dad would make breakfast. He would make bacon and eggs and not that oatmeal or Cream of Wheat stuff we had during the week. Oh, I loved going to church with my father where I truly found God.
At that same small church, I was attending Mass one Saturday morning, the day after my mother died. I was ten years old. Fr. Casper, C.P. was saying the mass. He had visited our home on Thursday that week to be with us as we kept vigil, waiting with my mother as she lay dying of cancer. He spoke with me that evening, making sure I knew what was happening. Being the mature ten-year old that I was, I assured him, I knew. Of course, I had no idea-it would be years before I fully integrated my mother’s death into my life.
After mass that Saturday morning, Fr. Casper invited me to have breakfast with him at the monastery attached to our parish church. I went and found a new mother, a church. A few years later, I would enter the minor seminary associated with that monastery where I continued to experience church, God, i.e. people who loved and cared for each other.
Today, I try to experience church on a daily basis by loving and caring first for myself and then treating everyone who enters my life that day with the same love and care. Once in awhile, I believe, I actually succeed.
In today’s scripture, we read how Solomon builds this big beautiful temple and then wonders: ""Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth? If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!" Poor Solomon, he had no one to go to breakfast with after attending temple. 😉
Today’s psalm says it all for me. "How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!"
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.