(The Testament of St. Francis of Assisi)
My wife and I have recently moved to Beverly, MA, into a very nice apartment complex. I have recently been able to start using the MBTA commuter train to get into Boston for my job. The train goes through the center of Beverly, and from my seat, I can see the steeple of St. Mary's, Star of the Sea. When I catch sight of the steeple, I recite the above prayer that came to us from St. Francis of Assisi.
Churches were important for Francis; for him, I think, they were a sacred space, where one could encounter God. It was the place where the members of the Body of Christ, the community of believers gathered. IT was were the Eucharistic Presence was reserved. And it broke Francis' heart to see a church in disrepair, he would immediately set to work fixing it. He was known to sweep out the interior of churches which had become dingy from neglect. And, of course, he would spend many hours in a church, in deep prayer.
A church is more than just a building, it is a place were Christians gather, to encounter Christ in Word and Sacrament. To take strength and inspiration from being part of a visible of community of believers. It is where we experience all the moments of life; the baptism of an infant, the joining of a man and woman in marriage, and the remembering of a deceased person's life.
May every church we see house a community of the faithful; who are alive in the Spirit, and ready to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.