The Church is a hospital for sinners, we often hear. But sometimes the cure is to go away, repent, and come back. The Church lets everyone in, says St. Cyril of Jerusalem, but you yourself have to judge whether you’re at church for the wrong reasons.
We, the ministers of Christ, have let everyone in. We hold the place of doorkeepers (so to speak), but we have left the door wide open.
Perhaps you came in with your soul muddied with sins, and with a tainted will. But you came in, and you were allowed. Your name was added to the list.
Tell me, do you see this venerable institution of the Church? Do you see her order and discipline, the reading of the Scriptures, the presence of ordained ministers, the course of instruction?
Look where you are, and be ashamed. Now would be a good time to leave, and then tomorrow will be a perfect time to come back.
–St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Protocatechesis, 4
Do I examine my conscience before Mass?
What do I find there? Am I in church for the right reasons?
Father, though I dare to approach your altar, I know that I am still a sinner. Have mercy on me, and do not delay in sending me your Son, who is our saving Host.
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