Sometimes I will be the only church that somebody will know! You say, what? Yes, that is true, I, and you, may be the only church that somebody will ever know. As I read through the readings today on the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, this thought began to develop within my heart.
We celebrate the dedication of this beautiful Basilica in Rome, one in which I have visited, but my heart was drawn to the many people who will never travel to Rome and see these beautiful churches, or for that matter, ever step inside of a beautiful church in their local city. It made my heart hurt a little bit.
I love going into churches all over the world. I love gazing on the beautiful artwork and allowing myself to just rest in the moment of the quiet building. I am drawn into the beauty of the Catholic Churches all around this world. These buildings do help me to grow in holiness and the peaceful experience that our churches offer us are, indispensable, to me! However, there are people who will never step foot in a church to gaze upon its beauty and nurture their own ability to be holy.
Even though there are these people, hope is not lost. The second reading today asks us, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” It then goes on to say, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (I Corinthians 3: 16-17) Thus, even though these people may never experience the beauty of a Catholic Church, they may experience the beauty of my holy and beautiful temple.
Wow, this is a pretty large weight for us as Catholic Christians to carry, isn’t it? We are created to be a visible sign of God for the whole world. We are God’s creation and thus, we belong to Him. If we act and behave as God calls us to, we should reflect God to all we encounter. The outside world should be able to see holiness within us. For me this means a lot of things…I must ask myself several questions: Am I living in a way that reflects holiness? Am I frequenting the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist? Am I depending on God with my whole heart? Am I blocking God from radiating through me? If the answer to these questions do not line up with what God desires, I have a lot of work to do!
For someone like me, who has struggled with self esteem my entire life it has been hard for me to accept that I truly am a temple of the Holy Spirit. God created me in His image and likeness and God loves me and He trusts me to reflect Him, so why do I doubt myself? In the last year or so I have really been praying for the ability to have a healthy self-esteem, and I really feel as though those prayers have worked. In the past I tried to fix myself on my own, without turning to God, but God has made it possible for me to see myself through His eyes. I know that I can be Christ to others because He has called me to be. I can be a merciful, welcoming, and holy place for people to find refuge, especially within my own family life. I am blessed that my husband and children find comfort and safety within me. Are you able to be that for your family and friends? If not, what do you need to do in your life to allow your holiness to shine through?
My prayer for you and me, in this crazy world we live in, is for us to never doubt our calling to reflect Christ to others. May we never forget that we may be the only church somebody will ever see!