Father Daniel Reehil kneels before the Blessed Sacrament for Divine Praises Saturday February 8, 2020 – Saint Edward, Nashville, TN
I WROTE THIS PIECE ON MONDAY MARCH 2, 2020, BELOW I USED AN EXAMPLE OF OUR LOCAL LATIN MASS PARISH AS AN EXAMPLE OF BEAUTY – CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION IN NASHVILLE, TN. WITHIN 12 HOURS OF POSTING, IN THE EARLY MORNING OF MARCH 3, 2020 ASSUMPTION WAS HIT BY A TORNADO AND SUFFERED EXTENSIVE DAMAGE. PLEASE KEEP THAT PARISH AND ALL THOSE AFFECTED IN YOUR PRAYERS.
….the altar should occupy a place where it is truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns…. (299 – General Instruction of Roman Missal)
I am not a Liturgist, nor am I schooled in knowledge of exactly how architecture in a church should be laid out. But what I do know is that there is a reason certain things are prescribed in the Mass and in the building. And I certainly know monstrous architectural, art and liturgical abuses when I see them.
My point in writing this post is not actually to bash any people or to state that I know what their intentions are. My point is simply to point out what makes sense to me and what I feel the Lord has spoken to me in prayer and it has to do with the law.
We all know the Pharisees were rebuked by Jesus for their legalism. But we often mistake this rebuke as a total disregard of the law, however, that is not what Jesus was saying. In fact Jesus said to follow the law.
So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. Matthew 23:3
You see Christ could see their hearts. The Pharisees did not love the people more than the law. They idolized the law. He was trying to teach them the proper order of things.
Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. Mathew 5:17
Jesus was teaching us that love comes first. Love of God compels love of neighbor. Love of God also compels following the law.
If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15
God sees the intention in our heart, and it is why, even when we sin, He is merciful. We often have good intention when we commit sin. He is trying to teach us though that committing sin is not the way to a life of abundance. But he is always merciful and He always loves us.
Here’s the thing though, God is not a legalist, but the demons are. They could care less about your intention. They are looking for you to open a door to let them in so they can speak to you and you will listen. This is important to understand because if we disregard rubrics, architecture, beauty, and the law, we are letting the demonic in to gain a stronghold where they can relentlessly attack us. This is why following the rubric of the Mass is so important. It isn’t because God won’t love us if we don’t, it is because we aren’t protected if we don’t. This is why rubrics regarding liturgy and laws of how architecture should be laid out matter. Once we open that door to the demonic, our perception gets twisted, and our eyes get taken off of Christ. The demons come to steal, kill and destroy, and they use every means available to them to accomplish this, including means inside of our churches.
When we place things in front of or over the altar that distract from the sacrifice of the Mass we are giving the demonic a foothold. We miss the importance of the Eucharist and suddenly the demonic speaks to us telling us the Eucharist doesn’t matter.
When our choirs are placed too near the altar or in the front of the church where the people’s eyes get placed on them and they become the center of attention for their concert like music, our eyes are taken off of the sacrifice. The demons sling poison arrows that seem like a good (oh, but the music is so good, it makes you feel good) but suddenly you miss the importance of the Eucharist and your eyes haven’t looked at Him and your heart doesn’t recognize that He is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity and suddenly the Eucharist doesn’t matter.
When our artwork is ugly and doesn’t compel us to look to the altar or the heavens, our eyes are taken off of the Eucharist and the demons whisper and suddenly the Eucharist doesn’t matter.
Beauty should never become our God and the law should never make us be unmerciful but we are gravely putting ourselves in peril when we disregard how things should be done. Everything we do should be a movement towards our God who is Love and can infuse us with His love when our eyes remain on Him. We know beauty that lifts us to heaven when we see it.
**Church of the Assumption, Nashville, TN
For our Shepherds out there, be gentle with those who have good intention, but do not be afraid to correct them as to why we have rubrics and prescriptions for how we do things. It is actually for their protection. I know I am grateful for the Shepherds who have corrected me along the way. These acts help make a person holy. If you are a Shepherd who has allowed these abuses in the name of “love”, I beg of you to reconsider what love actually is. True love protects the sheep from the guile of the demonic.
Scripture has throughout it God telling people exactly how things should be done. Christ left us a church to instruct us. We would do well to listen. Listening with love ushers in the Kingdom of God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
**Assumption parish was severely damaged in the storms and tornado that hit Nashville March 3, 2020. This is the church where Latin Mass for the Diocese is held. All the people are okay, but the church building is not. From what I understand the sacristy was destroyed, the northern transept partially collapsed, the steeple is leaning, stained glass is destroyed and the rectory lost it’s chimney. I am sure they will need prayers and please consider a donation.
And please pray for them.
Church of the Assumption
1227 7th Ave North
Nashville, TN 37208
But Hope springs eternal as Father Bede Price, who had rescued the Blessed Sacrament during the storm, celebrates Mass in the wreckage the following evening;