The temple of his body…
The heartbreaking images of Notre Dame Cathedral on fire have caused a great sentimental response from people around the world. People of many faiths or no faith feel sadness at the loss of a great architectural, ecclesial and cultural monument. Parisians are especially fond of the Cathedral and landmarks in Paris and the countryside are sometimes identified by their physical distance from Notre Dame.
After Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers and dove sellers the disciples remembered that it was written “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Responding to the ire of the pharisees Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Jn 2: 21. They retorted that the temple had been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days? But he was speaking of the temple of his body.
It is moving to hear the reflections of people about the importance of the Cathedral to the identity and the “soul” of France. Within a week perhaps one Billion dollars will have been promised for its restoration. Our religious and cultural affections are very powerful, and they have a definite role in our response to our vocation.
Our affections for religious art, sacred ceremony and holy sites are fulfilled when we let the fidelity of God, which all sacred things serve, move us to respond to the wounded temple of humanity and the world with the gift our whole lives.
Saint Eugene de Mazenod was moved beyond his affections for the sacred things of his religious and cultural world of Southern France to give himself totally to raise up the temple, the Church, which had been cruelly ravaged by the fierce secularity of the French revolution. He and the Oblates deeply understood that the true Church is the people, not the building. Their faith and spirituality led them to pour themselves out to restore the poor to their proper stature as Church, the body called to live on earth the life of the risen Jesus.
What changes our affections from earthly things to truly heavenly things is permitting ourselves to experience God’s affections for us. When we surrender our defenses to God’s complete outpouring of love in the passion and death of Jesus our affections for God are aroused. This true meeting of hearts changes our appreciation of what is truly holy and sets us on a course of action that is aligned with God’s affections for all people.
This is what these holy days are all about. Discover in them the deepest beauty, truth and goodness of God committed to our wounded world and find your place to serve its restoration in Christ, whose risen body is now the temple that will never be destroyed.
By Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director OMI Lacombe Canada Province
Feel free to contact Fr. Mark for advice about discernment and vocation direction. He can meet with you by phone to conduct a short vocation assessment to help you find your way. Contact him at email@example.com to arrange for an appointment