St. Martin De Tours, Day 2
February 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
There’s a weight associated with religion – a literal weight, the robes, the scarves, the beads, not to mention the weight religion bears on the soul.
It’s lunchtime. I break away to St. Martin De Tours, the 24 hour church, just around the corner from where I work. I approach a lady handing out programs for a funeral that’s being held in the main sanctuary.
“Is there a private room for praying?” I asked her.
She gestured to her right towards the Adoration Hall.
I headed toward the narrow French doors walking on my toes so my heels wouldn’t clack down on the ceramic floor.
The room was small with four rows of pews about 8 feet long. I saw a man kneeling, thumbing the beads of his Rosary as he peered up adoringly at a golden chalice with rays coming out of it and on either side were two angel statues holding golden lamp stands.
I found a row farthest from the shrine. The wooden pews cracked, offending the silence in the room.
The man stood up but then knelt down again, pulled by the fervency in his request, his hands clasped around the beads of the Rosary so that the crucifix dangled from his grasp.
Finally, he stood and walked backwards to the doors so not to turn his back on the shrine and making the sign of the cross for the last time, he left the room.
I did not deny his reverence. I believed it more than all the robes and the bells and the inaudible murmuring of the Priest’s prayers echoing throughout the massive sanctuary.
But my problem with a Catholic church service and Catholic ritual is that Jesus gets lost in all the formality – all the religion bears down so overtly that you forget your freedom as a Christian. At least, I do when I visit St. Martin De Tours.
I didn’t intend to watch anyone pray. I couldn’t help myself. I went to pray my own stuff but kept peeking with one eye over my hands, finger laced and pressed to my forehead to see what the guy would do next. Then my attention would shift to the clinking of beads by an old man sitting in the pew ahead of me, then to the statues with their solemn faces, saints I didn’t know.