Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be.
~ Caesarius of Arles
When we enter a Catholic Church, the first thing on our minds should be that we are entering into the real presence of God. The Sanctuary Lamp, the candle which burns always before the tabernacle, reminds us of this. At the doors of the church are Holy Water fonts, placed there so that we can take blessed water and bless ourselves with it, reminding ourselves of our baptism by which we became children of God. When we enter a Church to assist at Mass, we are entering the place where we take part in the most exalted and dignified “work” which we are privileged to do. We must prepare ourselves for that “work.” That’s why we bless ourselves with the water of our baptism; that’s why we genuflect before the Real Presence of our Lord and Master; that’s why we kneel in our pew and pray, asking God to ready our hearts and minds to let us participate fully and actively in the source and summit of our Faith: the Eucharist.
Saint Caesarius of Arles, was a 6th century bishop. He preached and taught about our Christian dignity, about the fact that we become living temples of God. If we think more carefully about the meaning of our salvation, we shall realize that we are indeed living and true temples of God. Therefore, the apostle Paul says: The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.
My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil. I shall speak clearly, so that all can understand. Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this church immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this church to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified. Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, and I shall walk the corridors of their hearts.”
Let us all, in our prayer, preparation, and participation, be the living stones of the Temple of God, and show that especially when we enter the Church built, decorated, and consecrated, to be a house for God’s Holy People and the place where His presence truly is.