Rosicrucian Writings Online
Cathedral Contacts[From The Rosicrucian Digest March 1938]
WHAT IS RELIGIOUS WORSHIP?
WHY do so many millions of human beings throughout the countries of the earth go to churches, cathedrals, tabernacles, synagogues, temples, sanctuaries and shrines on various days of the week and various hours of each day to worship their God and to attune themselves with the spiritual world?
The ancient mystics and the early religious fathers of civilization properly evaluated the process of "taking one's self apart from the things of the world" and going into the silence or into a place of holiness for prayer and meditation.
A careful study and analysis of the earliest forms and places of religious worship present us with a picture that is far different from the magnificence we find revealed in the designs and forms of modern structures set apart for religious worship.
The desire for religious worship or divine worship arose within the consciousness of man as a natural emotion and a natural desire, and was fostered by his analytical thinking and his desire to know more about himself and about the unquestionable, although unfathomable and unknown, superior intellect and power that directed and controlled the universe. For that reason any place which was isolated or separated from the turmoil and noise of everyday activities, and which afforded relaxation and quietness and an opportunity for deeper thinking and an uplift of the consciousness, became to man a Holy of Holies, the original church, the original temple, the original cathedral, the original sanctuary. As man began to create out of the materials of the earth symbols to represent his conceptions of God and the angels, and of the heavens, he adorned and decorated and beautified the place where he was wont to go to sit in silence and worship. But ever in his consciousness was the idea that each statue, each material symbol, each feature of the structure, or the decorations of it, was to have a utilitarian value or usefulness. They were to help him direct his thoughts and concentrate his thoughts upon something exterior to himself, greater than himself, and more omnipotent than anything on earth.
But as time passed, the division of religious movements into various sects and the competition between them to build more stately and more impressive edifices, and to contend that these more magnificent structures represented a more powerful concept and a more efficient degree of worship, led to the building of gigantic structures with the outlay of enormous sums, with very little consideration of the utility or the practicability of the parts and elements thus brought together. The time soon came when man found that the most elaborate, most decorative and impressive of these structures afforded him less isolation, less separation from worldliness than he could find in his own home or in the privacy of some small room set apart for religious worship. And with the passing of time man came to realize that he really could get closer to God and to God's unpainted and untainted and unrestricted and unmodified consciousness and power and manifestations by going out on to a hilltop or the mountainside under a blue sky and, close to nature in its purest form, attuning himself with God and the Spiritual Kingdom.
Today, millions of individuals go to churches for that religious attunement and worship which they should be able to find and to provide in the privacy of a sanctum in their own homes or out in a beautiful valley. There is no more need for a human being to enter these elaborate temples, cathedrals, churches and synagogues for such spiritual attunement and worship, than there is for the average human being to lock himself in an underground tomb in order to think.
But there are good reasons for the existence of sacred edifices and places of public assembly in connection with religious activities. There are religious welfare, religious instruction, religious guidance and religious cooperation which can be carried on more efficiently and conducted more systematically through congregations under the proper leadership, and through assemblies in an appropriate place, than otherwise. Therefore, for the sake of cooperation, unity of purpose, good work and religious instruction, every individual should be a member of and attend faithfully the services of some church. And at these assemblies there should be the proper admiration paid to God, a few moments spent in prayer and ritualistic dramatization of the emotional idealisms of man in conjunction with the many minutes of religious instruction and guidance.
But when it comes to pure and unrestricted attunement with God and God's Consciousness, and truly sacred and divine communion with God, affording every opportunity for God to speak to man through the divine inner self, there is no place better, no environment more appropriate, and no condition more contributory to the proper realizations than the silence of one's own sanctuary and the complete separation from others and from worldly limitations. This personal, private sanctuary may be a corner of one's home, a part of one's own room, or the side of a hill out under the blue sky. Periods of attunement and communion with God in such private sanctuaries should be an incident of each day's procedure and not limited to one day of the week as are the periods for congregational worship and study of spiritual values.
And there is no more appropriate and soul-satisfying place than the Cathedral of the Soul for such silent and private communion as the lifting of one's consciousness upward to the heavens above. This process of attuning with the Cathedral of the Soul and there finding God and God's Consciousness, finding silence and inspiration and spiritual music that only the soul can hear, and material separation from all worldly things, can be enjoyed by every individual, and the whole procedure is explained in the beautiful little booklet called Liber 777 which is offered to all of our readers absolutely free, and in the kindest spirit. If you have not seen and read this booklet, be sure and send for a copy of it as instructed in the notice at the head of this department.
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