One Minute Reflection – 9 November – The Feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran – Gospel: John 2:13–22
“Zeal for your house will consume me.” ... John 2:18
REFLECTION – “Is a cathedral the offspring of a random thought, a thing to will and to accomplish at our pleasure?… Surely the churches which we inherit are not the purchase of wealth nor the creation of genius, they are the fruits of martyrdom. They come of high deeds and sufferings, as long before their very building as we are after it. Their foundations are laid very deep, even in the preaching of apostles and the confession of saints and the first victories of the gospel in our land. All that is so noble in their architecture, all that captivates the eye and makes its way to the heart, is not a human imagination but a divine gift, a moral result, a spiritual work.
The Cross is ever planted in hazard and suffering and is watered with tears and blood. No where does it take root and bear fruit, except its preaching be with self-denial. It is easy, indeed, for the ruling powers to make a decree and set religion on high and extend its range,and herald its name but they cannot plant it, they can but impose it. The Church alone can plant the Church. The Church alone can found her sees and inclose herself within walls. None but saintly men, mortified men, preachers of righteousness, and confessors for the truth, can create a home for the truth in any land.
Thus the Temples of God are withal the monuments of His saints… Their simplicity, grandeur, solidity, elevation, grace and exuberance of ornament, do but bring to remembrance the patience and purity, the courage, meekness and great charity, the heavenly affections, the activity in well-doing, the faith and resignation, of men who themselves did but worship in mountains and in deserts,and in caves and dens of the earth. They laboured but not in vain, for other men entered into their labours (cf. Jn 4:38) and, as if by natural consequence, at length their word prospered after them and made itself a home, even these sacred palaces in which it has so long dwelt… O happy they who, in a sorrowful time, avail themselves of this bond of communion with the saints of old and with the universal Church!… Happy they, who when they enter within their holy limits, enter in heart into the court of Heaven!” … St John Henry Newman (1801-1890) Cardinal, Founder of the Oratory in England, Theologian – PPS vol. 6, 19
PRAYER – Almighty God, as we recall with joy, the Dedication of this house of Yours on each recurring anniversary, listen to Your people’s prayer and grant that our worship here may be a sincere and holy service, honouring Your Name and bringing us the fullness of redemption. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God for all eternity, amen.