Saturday, April 28, 2012

Your Body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost

Today, April 28, is the Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in the Diocese of Baker (more or less…see this post for a full explanation of the confusion around the date!).

I particularly liked this reading from the office of Matins for the Common of the Dedication of a Church, comparing the building up of a church building with the building up of our own souls as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. I’ll just let St. Augustine speak for himself:

A Sermon of St. Augustine, Bishop

Dearly beloved brethren, when we keep the Dedication Feast of some altar or church, we do well to ponder with attention and devotion certain things connected with them, namely, how the workmen toiled to build them and by what means the Church doth consecrate them. And if thereby we are moved to live a more godly and righteous life, what we have seen done in these temples made with hands, will also in some wise be done in the upbuilding of our own souls. He lied not who said : The temple of God is holy ; which temple are ye. And again: Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you? And therefore, dearly beloved brethren, since by the grace of God, and without any antecedent merits of our own, we have been made meet to become the temple of God, let us work as hard as we can, with his help, that our Lord may not find in his temple (that is, in us) anything to offend the eyes of his Majesty.

Let the tabernacle of our heart be swept clean of sin and adorned with goodness. Let it be locked to the devil, and thrown open to Christ. Yea, let us so work, that we may be able to open the door of the kingdom of heaven with the key of good works. For even as evil works are so many bolts and bars to close against us the entrance into life, so beyond doubt are good works the key thereto. And therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let each one look into his own conscience, and when he findeth any defilement there, let him first strive by prayers, fasting, and almsdeeds to cleanse his conscience, and so let him venture to receive the Eucharist.

For, if he acknowledge his iniquity (meanwhile holding himself back from the altar of God), he will quickly obtain pardon from the mercy of God. For he that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Therefore, as I have said, if he acknowledge his iniquity, meanwhile humbly holding himself back from the altar of the Church till he have mended his life, he need have no fear that he will be excommunicate from the eternal marriage-supper in heaven.

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