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A tale of two houses

On the way to my house there are two churches within a few hundred feet of each other. One is a beautiful brick Catholic church with a still-in-use bell tower and wonderful stained glass windows. The other is a very classical New England Protestant church (UCC I believe, but it’s not emminently clear) with its own wonderful steeple and beautiful pillared entrance. It is aside from their individual physical beauty is where the two houses of worship begin to diverge.

The Catholic church has been twinned with another parish a few miles away, itself a beautiful stone building with magnificent stained glass windows and a bell tower that dominates the entire skyline of that part of the city. There is one Mass on Sunday and an anticipatory Mass on Saturday evening; other than that I’m not even sure when the physical building is open.

The Protestant church by comparison has seemingly constant activity with concerts, youth fairs, guest speakers and more. Just the other day as I drove by there was a worker atop a very tall ladder re-painting the columns at the front of the church. They also have a sign by the road that is updated normally at least once a week with different Bible verses and thoughtful sayings. One currently finds a quotation from Matthew 11:28:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

And this, I realized, is where the two churches truly diverge. The Protestant church is busy with all sorts of activities and speaks to us of the sayings of Christ. But where is the He that speaks the “Come to me”? He is not here but only replays of His words and retelling of His deeds. But the Catholic church, in all its quiet and seeming inactivity, has the answer none other can give. He is here. Fully. Completely. His Body is over there, in the tabernacle. He calls to us, in silence. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

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