***This was first posted on December 20, 2007.
“Will you, God, really live with people on earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built…..Listen to the cry and the prayer I make to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said: “My name shall be there.”
1 Kings 8:27-29
Yesterday I walked into what is ‘sacred space’ for me. Once a month I am privileged to visit the Carondolet Center at the College of St. Catherine. This beautiful old building represents for me a true center of hospitality, a sacred dwelling. There is always someone with a pleasant greeting as you walk in. There is attention to detail, cleanliness and order. Depending on the Christian season, there will be paintings or displays that invite you to remember that it is, indeed, Advent or Lent…a candle here, an icon there. Those who work or live in the building….it is still home to a few Sisters of St. Joseph….move through the building with ease and a sense of purpose. Calmness seems to ooze from the walls, held I am sure, in the countless prayers that have been said over the years by these devoted women.
Most of us don’t live or work in such a space. Instead we sometimes successfully seek them out…. that place where we can sense, know, that indeed the Holy moves here. Even though we may claim ‘God is everywhere’, it is often difficult to really feel that is true in many of the spaces we exist. It takes great intention and attention to know the presence of the Holy in many of our spaces. Even our churches can miss the mark of creating ‘sacred space’.
Of course, many of us find the most sacred of spaces not in buildings at all but in a grove of trees, overlooking the sparkling water of a lake, standing on a mountain top gazing out at the land below and beyond. It is often easy to feel the vibration of the Holy under our feet in those places where our body and Earth connect. With stars dancing in the night sky, the Moon shining down on us, we are caught in the Mystery of what it means to be human reflecting upon the Divine.
What is ‘sacred space’ for you? Where is the place you can go to that allows all the pretenses of daily life to dissolve, the place that allows you to connect most fully with the Sacred? Wherever this place is for you, I pray that, during these days that can seem full and rushed, you can go there and be renewed by the Spirit which cannot be contained in heaven, the place that speaks through its very existence…the eyes of God are watching over this place…..blessed be.