The Sacred and the Mundane
March 9, 2022
Those who have walked through the hurried streets of Chicago and stepped into Saint Peter’s in the Loop know the feeling of peace that suddenly overtakes you. After adjusting to the silence of the church, you step out only to be immersed back in the river of pedestrians. This same oscillating sense of busyness and peace permeates Jerusalem. In one moment, you are jostling your way through crowded alleys. The next, you are immersed in the mysteries of Jesus’ Passion – the Church of Gethsemane, of Peter’s Denial, of the Condemnation, of Jesus’s Encounter with Mary.
Like closed doors that separate busy streets from peaceful churches, I can keep daily life separate from prayer. It is safer to keep doors closed than leave them open for strangers. Yet, when I pass by the Holy Sepulcher, its doors are always open. From sunrise to sunset, hundreds of pilgrims, tourists, monks, and sisters make their way into and out of the holiest site in the world. The peace of this church penetrates the people that visit it. Rather than keeping my doors closed, I am invited to allow the sacred to penetrate the mundane. Fr. George Aschenbrenner calls this the “monasticism of the heart.” There, in the quiet of our hearts, we can carry Christ with us through the streets of Jerusalem, Chicago, or wherever we find ourselves. We might even be surprised to find Him already present in the co-worker, the cashier, and the stranger on the street.
Diocese of Joliet