Thursday, May 11, 2017

We The Tabernacles

When we monks come into the chapel to pray, we take our places, and while standing, we pray and bow.  This is how we start the vigil service in the pre-dawn darkness.  It begins our day.  I thought that we bowed because we were praying to God and bowing to this God.  Dummy that I am, this is not why we were bowing.  We were bowing to one another.  Why?  Because we were recognizing that God is each one of us.  We are God's tabernacles.  In monastic chapels, the tabernacle that holds the host, the holy communion wafers, is never in the middle of the church, but rather off to the side.  Again, this is to emphasize the divine presence in each one of us, rathe than focus it all on the eucharist in the tabernacle.  Unfortunately, in our parish churches, the tabernacle is front and center.  This is OK, except that it focuses us on the God in the tabernacle and not on one another.  When was the last time you ever saw a Catholic bow in reverence to another Catholic who is trying to climb over them to get some pew space?  Children on the after mass donut line are a real free for all!

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