Thursday, August 28, 2008


One day, when my daughter was about 6 years old, she peeked inside a Catholic church and asked me, somewhat regretfully, "Mommy, why do the Catholics have all the beautiful churches?" By then she had attended some Catholic weddings in some of the country's oldest churches. But even the new ones had a lot to offer to a child's imagination.

I could identify. I was born a Catholic but am now a Christian. But as a child, there was so much to be astounded at in church. in those days old women still wore lace veils and I found them to be beautiful and couldn't wait to wear one. The rosaries came in lovely glass beads of different colors and seemed like necklaces. The statues, the angels with the holy water, and the lovely cool dip of the water on my face and lips whenever I first entered feeling like I was touching something magical.

Some things I could never quite take to, however. Like statues in boxes where the boxes were sometimes taken down the road for processions. Never really was my style. And i didn't like suffering statues, except sometimes when I felt I should somehow have a vicarious sentiment or two. But the lady in blue, oh she could be depicted in lovely ways. And I liked the candles you lit for people, though I never really felt anything much deep inside.
Now the high arched ceilings, that i really liked. personal taste, i suppose and it just roused my imagination to see steeples. but other than all these, the church was a place to spend one very boring hour, feeling quite sleepy and hungry because especially if you planned to take communion you weren't supposed to eat more than one hour before. The confessionals were nice, cozy and suitably fitting for one. But talking to the priest was not always great. I often wished I could be the priest and hear everyone's secrets instead.
When we went to Rome, Mom made sure we visited all the most important churches there. I particularly remember two things: St. Peter's Basilica, because I liked the pond outside where you tossed coins and fed the pigeons in the plaza. And the feet of Christ, imprinted on a cobbled floor outside and also inside a church. I actually thought they were really the feet. My brother said the feet were flat footed. which would be okay, as I am too.

But the ritual, though it had a calming effect, never really touched my heart. In due time I realized that what really mattered was having a personal relatioship with Christ, and with having an awareness of his presence in all details, both large and small, of our lives. Christ was not limited to a church, a church was a building. Christ is everywhere we are. So my most engaging prayer times have been outdoors, in a garden like this, beside the church in our village.

But one good thing about the Catholic churches is that they preserved the works of some of the greatest artists of our time. Da Vinci, Botticeli, El Greco, Raphael, Rubens, et al. These were starving artists, but the church kept their work going because the church had the money to pay them. And they were also a way of drawing the people into the church. You had to have a showcase to make people want to come in and pray. and so these wonderful artworks of history are preserved and the artists had an outlet, thanks to the Catholic Church.

Our churches don't have statuary, but we do have screens, and we have multi media effects, songs, bands, and all sorts of modern things. I guess, the modern equivalent of the artists of the days of old. I can sit in service for two hours and I will not be bored. Never bored.

Yesterday I went to Rockwell, and found something interesting, a Catholic chapel in a mall. Well, that struck me -- Christian churches were usually the ones renting space in a mall, or renting restaurants on Sundays to hold service. But here was a real Catholic chapel.
And as I went in, I saw something else quite interesting -- a monitor, so that those who could not see the priest close up could view him from the monitor.
There was a time that Catholic services were quite solemn, you weren't supposed to sing and it had to be in Latin. Now services are in English or any language, and there are lots of modern gospel songs being sung. And these days, it seems, they have entered the malls and are exhibiting the beginnings of going multi media.
Good for them. I notice too that more emphasis is being placed on the personal relationship that is necessary in a renewed Christian's life. And it seems they are beginning to go through the Bible more. Which is very good. My daughter is studying at a Catholic school with a Catholic Bible class, and she is surprised at how unfamiliar her classmates are with the Bible. She had been learning it since grade school.

What's important is that God really relates to us in so many different ways. There are Catholics who have become protestants, there are protestants who have become Catholics. I just hope that in whatever way you choose to worship, what is essential -- the personal relationship -- has become a strong bond that is never broken by anyone or anything.


Celar said...

religion is such a deep topic to talk about, I am a catholic but my parents had separate views when it comes to praying so maybe why I am so independent when it comes to that... My father was a solid catholic, his siblings and mother became christian and when they try to convince him to convert, he just said no in a nice way.... my mother though a catholic was never really a church goer.... so we were not that strict about going to I don't go to church as often as others but I believe that God knows what's in my heart and I guess that's more important....

Mango the Maltese kiddo said...

Hi Euthymic,
I felt very sad reading the story about Goerge, you noticed his tail was still down because he is still not quite happy. You did the best you could, Euthymic.

Blue said...

Just stopping by to say Hi - first time on-line for 5+ days!
TY for your caring comment - I'm sure I will be back soon.


euthymic said...

hi blue,

thanks for stopping bye:) i very much will be looking forward to your next blog entry. my thoughts and prayers are in your corner. be strong, be tough. you are never alone. i have never known anyone with as many regular readers as you.

you enrich people's lives and you must never let this good work be intimidated by anyone. only good can come around when it goes around.


Estefania (a.k.a pinoy-pinay) said...

I like this entry though. I'm not really so into the religious part of my Roman Catholic-ness (that's how most teens are. xD) but it was really, explainable. I have a friend who's a Johovo Witness and me being a Catholic, we don't talk about our religion though. [I think I'm getting off topic. xD]

Anyways ~ After the father at Church has finished reading the gospel it's sometimes interesting to what he has to say. Sometimes he'll talk about things that have been going on lately.

(I tried reading the bible once & I stopped reading it because in the beginning, it started with these names like, " (blank) is the son of (blank) " and what not. :D )

Estefania (a.k.a pinoy-pinay) said...

[Reply to your comment on my blog.]

You couldn't find Uglies ? I have the second book but couldn't buy the first one though.:/ Is there a borders there near where you live? Or a book store? I'm pretty sure that if they have Harry Potter they'd have "Uglies" and "Twilight".

Hm...Twilight is a novel (series of 4 books) about a Vampire, Werewolf and a Human that are in love and there's complications when they communicate with each other. The movie "Twilight" is coming out soon! :D If it comes out in the Philippines, you should watch it. :D

I'll probably post up my pictures/drawings/etc. around the time when I have the time. Lately, school's been lagging me behind on what I normally do. But I'll post some up, don't worry(:

P.S. I'm glad I made your heart dance. :D