See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, November 09, 2009

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica


"Brothers and sisters:  You are God's building." 2nd reading, Romans 3
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Today the Church celebrates the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.  I always associate this feast with the memorial (November 8) of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.  Not so much due to the fact her celebration precedes today's,  but because - to my mind at any rate - the Carmelite mystic interiorizes an aspect of the meaning and significance of today's feast for the baptized Catholic.  Nevertheless, it is difficult for me to explain how that is or what I mean by that.
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Blessed Elizabeth possessed marvelous awareness that she was the temple of the Most Holy Trinity - as is every baptized person - her entire doctrine is based upon the consciousness of this reality.  It seems to me in this recollection is contemplation  of the most sublime truth in charity, albeit darkly, as in a mirror.  The physical edifice of the Church reflects this reality, while the saints demonstrate it.
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"If I want my interior city to have some similarity and likeness to that 'of the King of eternal ages' and to receive this great illumination from God, I must extinguish every other light and, as in the holy city, the Lamb must be 'its only light.' - Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
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"No one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely Jesus Christ." - Romans 3
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The readings from today's liturgy define these mysteries for me - but I don't know how to express it or talk about it.  It is like knowing without knowing - it is a great joy - which makes me think immediately of the Blessed Virgin, who is a sign of the Church... and where Our Lady is, there is always joy.
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"[The angel] led me outside by the north gate, and around to the outer gate facing east, where I saw water trickling from the southern side [of the temple]." - 1st reading, Ezekiel 47
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Shortly after my conversion in 1972, I had a dream of brilliantly colored angels - each a different species - constructing a massive church, lifting great stones as if they were dust, flying upwards to enclose a particularly intricate Gothic window frame.  As they were setting the capstone someone told me I was being built into the temple of God.  Immediately I found myself  in a chapel.  Coming from the altar was a stream of water, alongside which were monks clothed in white, bowing profoundly at the Gloria.  I turned to a figure I perceived to be the priest and asked, "When does Mass (the sacrifice) begin?"  I never knew what the dream meant, but I think of it every year since - on this feast day.
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I can't tell you what this feast means, all I can tell you is what it does for me, as the responsorial psalm proclaims:
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"The waters of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High!" - Ps. 46

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Terry!

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  2. Beautiful!
    Something was very special about yesterday, but it does seem to be hidden or just partially "seen" and I don't understand it yet.
    Thank you for sharing your reflections.

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  3. The statues of the Apostles surrounding the altar in the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis are 2/3 sized replicas of those surrounding St. John Lateran in Rome.

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