Is there life after death? Can we hope for happiness greater than this world affords? Will everything that is wrong be set to rights? Will a merciful judge take pity on us for all our failures? Will a loving, heavenly Father smile at us when everything is said and done?
Yes. The answer is yes.
In the midst of the daily compromises of life on earth, our souls yearn for greatness, holiness, completeness, redemption, and freedom. Where would we be if we could not hope for these things?
Wretched. We would be indescribably wretched. Better a turkey in somebody’s oven than a human being without God.
But we can hope. We can believe. We worship the Father in the spirit and truth of His only begotten Son.
Now, in order to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, it is not absolutely necessary to have a well-heated and air-conditioned church with a splendid view of a southwest-Virginia hillside. In a pinch, priests have been known to say Mass on the hulls of over-turned canoes, or on the open tailgates of pick-up trucks, or on wooden crates in the corner of concentration camps.
But having a church building certainly helps.
When the trials of life weigh upon us; when we get confused, discouraged, or distressed; when we find that even our home and hearth bears the marks of Adam’s fall—well, we have our church, the dwelling place of Emmanuel, to be the home-base for our souls.
We Americans rejoice in the blessings of a warm and comfortable home and an amply-laid table. When the Lord blesses us with these things, He has blessed us indeed, and we give thanks.
But there is no Thanksgiving dinner on earth that is as great a blessing as having a good, well-built parish church in your town, where you can pray.