Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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“Come Journey with Us…”

July 14th, 2010, Promulgated by Bernie

“Where are you going?”

That’s what my wife and I automatically call out every time we drive past one of the three churches of the Rush-Henrietta cluster: Guardian Angels, Good Shepherd, and St. Joseph’s. Each church sign out front attractively invites all passersby to “Come Journey with Us…” They don’t say to where.

One grows weary of such silliness.

Still, I suppose the idea is to make people inquire and that’s not a bad thing. Navigate to the cluster’s website and a bulletin from the First Sunday of Advent 2009 and you can find a statement by the cluster’s joint liturgical committee and you get a better idea of the goal of the journey for Advent and beyond. It’s a bit muddled. The connection to “journeying” are the “signs” the Lord refers to in reference to the Second Coming, I guess. Then, of course, there is the obligatory mentioning of “faith journey.”

Much of what we have heard from the pulpit, missions, and have read in church bulletin inserts over the past 30 odd years has been about journeying, wandering, searching, etc. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Where the hell are we going? I guess we are supposed to feel like the Hebrews wandering in the desert. (A lovely person once volunteered at a liturgy committee meeting that she put sand in her shoes so she could better experience wandering in the desert. Good grief.) It’s all so depressing.

Church architecture and decoration over the same period of time has not helped us get a fix on our destination. There we are, huddled in a circle, looking at each other, going nowhere but around, and around, and…

A person yearns (“like a deer for running water”) for a glimmer of hope, for a vision of the goal.

Church architecture used to make clear the destination of our journey and that the journey we were on was actually a procession. The wandering  in the desert was over. There was a direct route to the promised land.

Below is a beautiful basilica in Croatia that offers us today, as it has since the 4th century, refreshment. We are drawn down the long nave toward the far end which ends in a stunningly decorated arch and apse. The altar is covered by an architectural form that reminds us of the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple, the dwelling place of the Presence of the Most High God. We cannot resist moving toward that other end. Watch as people enter the church. They invariably head straight down the nave to the altar. They stop every so many feet to enjoy the view of the chancel area and and altar. No question in this Croatian church as to the destination of every Christian.

In the vault of the apse is a gorgeous mosaic of the Holy Mother of God Kyriotissa, the type of Marian icon which we have been looking at the last several days. We notice that the procession down the nave continues in the apse. Approaching the majestic “Incarnation” are flanking figures of angels, a bishop holding a model of the church, local saints, another bishop, an archdeacon, and a child. These folks aren’t wandering in the desert, either. They know where they are headed. In fact, they have arrived. All the figures stand on a golden skied meadow covered with flowers –paradise.

(click on images for a larger and sharper display)

Euphrasian Basilica, Pore, Croatia

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Pictures Source: www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=62147…

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4 Responses to ““Come Journey with Us…””

  1. avatar Mike says:

    Each church sign out front attractively invites all passersby to “Come Journey with Us…” They don’t say to where.

    Too many Catholics today believe that it’s not the destination that’s important, but the journey that takes you there.

    Taking ones’ eyes off the prize, however, is a pretty sure way of losing one’s way.

  2. avatar Nerina says:

    “Much of what we have heard from the pulpit, missions, and have read in church bulletin inserts over the past 30 odd years has been about journeying, wandering, searching, etc. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Where the hell are we going?”

    Exactly, Bernie. Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about the destination? Why aren’t we given clear directions? If a GPS was used in our diocese it wouldn’t constantly chime in with “recalculating” for all the wrong turns that are made! We have the map. We have the driver. Now we need to let Him drive. Because, frankly, I don’t have enough gas in my tank to wander without purpose or direction.

    Great reflection and beautiful pictures.

  3. avatar Richard says:

    It’s like a failing corporation needing to spiff up its advertisements to lure people to their product. Sacred situations speak for themselves, they need little advertisement. Empty , bankrupt situations can only thrive on nunsensical verbage.

  4. avatar Nerina says:

    My above comment should say “it WOULD constantly chime” not WOULDN’T.

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