I have been to quite a few famous churches in various cities, St. Peter’s Basilica, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Patheon, Santa Maria Del Fiore, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Holy Sepulchre Church, Church of the Annunciation, to name a few. While most of these churches look splendid and magnificent, I never sensed the presence of God while I was there.
One therefore ought to ask these two questions: Is God present in these magnificent churches? Is God present in any church at all?
I believe not.
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands … (Acts 7:48)
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)
It does not correspond to My will that ostentatious and splendid buildings get erected for Me at a time when it is particularly important for people to look within themselves and not towards things which still belong to the world and which do not encourage striving for My kingdom with its magnificence and glory. Everything that captivates your eyes or appeals to your senses prevents you from introspection, from the contemplation of your inner self, which is so essential for you because the end is not far. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
Why do you think that you must honour Me with magnificent buildings? Why do you always externalise everything instead of working on improving your souls more eagerly? You people still do not understand that I cannot be found where you want to place Me. You all have the means to let Me be present in you. And therefore it is foolish of you to want to build houses for Me which serve no other purpose than to periodically assemble people who live according to wrong concepts. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
Those who want to speak to Me can do so in their hearts and wherever they are; they truly need no assembly halls which so appeal to the eye that they make all deep reflection impossible. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
But how can your soul awaken to life by external events, by worldly pomp and splendour, by constant feasts for your eyes and ears, by everything that affects a person’s external senses but cannot give life to the soul. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
Do good to your neighbour, ease his burden, try to help in every possible way, care for and give to your fellow human being what he is spiritually and physically in need of; but do not erect dead structures whose production does not comply with My will, especially since the physical hardship on Earth is so great that it would be far more pleasing to Me if you would lessen this adversity. (The Word of God, Proclamation 6402)
A pure human heart capable of love is the only temple in which I Myself will dwell, and therefore I need not be sought in particular places at certain times and in a particular form. (The Word of God, Proclamation 4519)
God is not present in churches made with hands, be they magnificent or not. God is present in people’s hearts that blaze with love for Him and for their neighbour.