The volume of pedestrian traffic usually determines whether a certain location is good for business. Thus, because of the high volume of pedestrian traffic around churches and temples, these places often and soon enough attract businesses of all sorts. I am thinking of the Quiapo Church in Manila, the Marian Shrines in Antipolo and Manaoag. In medieval Europe, many towns and cities were gradual accretions in the vicinity of monasteries, shrines and churches.
Now, the reverse has also been happening in the Philippines. Where there is heavy volume of pedestrian traffic, chapels and places of worship have started sprouting up. There are now chapels, complete with Sunday masses, in all the major malls. There is the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas Center. There is the shrine of Padre Pio close to the Eastwood.
Both situations make me uncomfortable. I agree that God can be found in all places anytime. One only has to seek Him to find Him. But when one goes to pray, it should be on sacred and holy ground, properly attired and with the proper behavior. My prayer to God can be every moment. But I would want to devote a special time and space dedicated just for Him and for me to encounter Him fully. For this reason I love my Sacred Space and Time.
How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.