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RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH GOD


We visited Our Lady of Quebec, the Cathedral Basilica in old Quebec City. I had a plethora of emotions upon entering this bastion of structures, dating back 365 years, having been built in 1647. It continues its stately gaze as the oldest parish church in North America. My experience there shaped my impressions--of me and my relationship to God and the world.


As soon as I entered the edifice, I saw candle stations in strategic places. A Confessional on my right near the door I just entered immediately caught my attention. It was not a coincidence that I was invited--maybe challenged--before I took another step, to prepare myself for this unforgettable journey that would eventually take me to the altar.


Directly in front of me was the first of several candle stops. I was informed by the posted instructions that I could light a votive for a dollar. A few steps to my left on the other side of the Cathedral I was invited to light a prayer candle in another station. This candle would cost five dollars. As I moved a few feet forward I felt a growing intimidation. I felt intimated trying to work my way to the front of this magnificent holy place that represented humanity's relationship with Divinity.


How should one 'feel' when rubbing shoulders with God? Can we be expected to feel something specific to the occasion? Maybe what I feel and how I behave has much to do with how I understand authority; how I respect or despise it; maybe my behaving and feeling have much to do with how I perceive ME--as an equal or a subordinate, worthy or wretched. It certainly has much to do with how I understand HIM--meaning God.

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