Tonight is week 2 for religious education and a big chunk of the time will be devoted to an opening prayer service in the Church. Of course, this provides an opportunity to teach the young people about reverence. In many ways, reverence is a lost art in our society. Simply put, reverence means recognition of the sacred. In the church, we gather in a sacred space, aware of the presence of the Living God. One might say, “But isn’t God present everywhere? Why behave differently when we are in Church?” To that I would reply, “Yes, God is present everywhere and that means that the reverence we practice in church, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament (the sacramental presence of Jesus), is the same reverence that we should show to our neighbors and to all of God’s creation when we leave the church.”
In other words, reverence is a virtue (actually a Gift of the Holy Spirit) that we are called to practice at all times, not just in church. If we behave differently in church than we do elsewhere, we don’t “fix” that hypocrisy by being casual in church but by being reverent in the world!