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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Sacred Space and Prayer

If prayer is aided by a sacred space that we see with our eyes, it is because the deeper substratum of our existence has a theological character. If inner dispositions are brought into harmony through what we see and touch, it is because of a deep theological connection between our bodies and our prayer. If it is a matter of reverence, desire for the truth, gratitude for inexhaustible gifts, and hope for salvation, our bodies also must find a posture that receive such mysteries. It is not easy to see the world by faith. The spiritual eyes of our soul remain close until we allow the Lord to wake us from our slumber. Then, we learn to gaze only by stages and in degrees.

What is more, this spiritual awakening is not simply a matter of our spirits but also our bodies - for the body expresses the reality of the heart. Christ redeemed us body and soul—and what ever He does deep in the heart also takes up the mystery of our flesh and blood. He loves our whole humanity - and wants all the dimensions of our existence to stand before the Father.

This is where a well ordered physical sanctuary assists our hearts. What is in the visible, physical world that we touch with our hands and see with our bodily eyes can dispose the vision of our hearts to be open to invisible mysteries. If with good teaching and reverence for the Lord assists our hearts, a space physically arranged to what is sacred is an aid. For to welcome a teaching into our spirits also takes up our visible existence. Our faith is performative. In the realm of being real, taking a stand in the concrete particulars of life, a space adorned with holy images, can help train us to see the world with the eyes of faith.

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