Part of the Catholic genius is the care taken to facilitate an experience of the divine that is tangible–something we can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. This gets the realm of God out of thoughts and speech, and into something of which we can get a sense:
§ 23 § Gestures, language, and actions are the physical, visible, and public expressions by which human beings understand and manifest their inner life. Since human beings on this earth are always made of flesh and blood, they not only will and think, but also speak and sing, move and celebrate. These human actions as well as physical objects are also the signs by which Christians express and deepen their relationship to God. (CCC 1146; GIRM 288)
§ 24 § Jesus himself used physical signs to manifest his union with the Father and to reveal his mission to the world. Jesus was baptized in the waters of the Jordan River, he fed the multitudes with bread, healed the sick with his touch and forgave sinners. He was anointed with oil, he shared a Passover meal with his disciples, and he surrendered his body to death on the cross. Christ, the incarnate one, used material signs to show to humanity the invisible God. (CCC 1151)
These material signs are part of the Church’s sacramental life, as well as the building which houses it all.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.