Part of my position in my parish is to write articles for the weekly bulletin. I share this responsibility with a few other individuals to make up the content for the “Jargon”. This is the article that I submitted for last week. I plan to expound on this at a later date. Many times I think we don’t realize that beauty and liturgy go hand in hand with evangelization and conversion. The article is as follows:
I remember several years ago having a conversation with an ex-catholic. They said the reason why they left the Church was because they saw the Vatican. I didn’t understand how this would cause someone to abandon their faith. They further explained that the city was very beautiful! It was adorned with precious metals and stones. It was a masterpiece to behold!
They couldn’t understand why so much money could be used to build these gorgeous basilicas and parishes when there were impoverished people all over the world who could have used that money to buy food. They took this as an act of selfishness that flew right in the face of the Savior’s teachings. With that, they decided to leave the Church for something that “helped the poor more”.
Ironically, this is exactly what one of the disciples thought. His name was Judas. When a woman came to Jesus with an alabaster box of ointment, broke it, and anointed Jesus’ feet with it, Judas complained that what she was doing was a waste. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus rebuked him for it, and pointed out that she was ministering to Him. This is a very important thing to keep in mind.
Why are Catholic churches supposed to be beautiful? Why must the sacred vessels used to accommodate our Lord in the Eucharist be made of precious metals? Why must the very best that we have to offer go to the Church? Because it ministers directly to Jesus.
Jesus teaches us that when we do good to the “least of these” we do it to Him, and when we neglect them, that we neglect Him. This does not, however, mean that we can not minister directly to Him. God is beautiful, and knowing Him through the beauty of the Divine Liturgy in the proper place of worship is a powerful sign to any man of any monetary standing in any age.
It is also unjust to think that only the rich deserve to see the Lord in a place of beauty. The poor have every right to witness the beauty of the Lord in His lovely house. May we always be mindful of the fact that beauty is one of God’s tools to soften the hearts of the wayward. May we be ever ready to receive them!