Sunday, January 6, 2008

Building a Church

I wrote this in the middle of October and thought I'd share it here with you.

As I write this article, we are getting ready for a busy week at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Jordan. We have a large funeral and a wedding this week and the dedication of our new church building on Monday. We've been working for over a year building our addition and making our renovations. The planning process began many years earlier. The new facility will get a real workout as is evident by the activity that is taking place this week. We will be celebrating life and death. We will be celebrating new beginnings. We will recognize the need for the new building as it will be filled for funerals and weddings, for baptisms and weekly celebrations of the Mass. It is a wonderful building that will be used for many things.

However, we often forget about the domestic church. What do I mean by that? I mean the church that should exist in each of our homes. The Second Vatican Council talked about the "Church" as the People of God. Each of us is a part of the church in our own families. While we may have a beautiful building in which to celebrate our faith and worship God, the primary foundations of the church begin at home. It is the faith we celebrate each day of our lives that make a celebration with in the church building more meaningful. Our regular life of prayer and our learning to trust in God is what leads us through the transitions in life. It gives us the ability to overcome the anxieties that may develop as we experience the loss of a loved one. It gives us the reason to be filled with joy as we see new life in Christ at baptism, or the beginning of a transformed relationship with God that take place at marriage where the two become one flesh and together look to God as their strength and source of hope.

The building of the domestic church is as important, or even more important, as the building of a church building. Prayer is an important part of building our domestic church. Sharing of our faith within the family is an important part of building our domestic church. Remembering, as a domestic church, to tie in with the larger community helps us to grow in hope as we realize that we are not making our journey alone, but as a pilgrim people.

As you reflect upon the goodness of God, may He bless your building project as you build your own church. May He make it a beautiful church which will attract others to the faith through your words and example. May God bless you.

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