Zeal for thy house will consume me … but what else is there? The same zeal which inspired Simeon to wait in his last days for the Christ, and Anna to devote the whole of her widowhood to prayer in the Temple, compels Jesus to make a whip of cords to drive out the animal sellers and money changers profaning the sanctuary with idolatry, thievery, exploitation, corruption.
Zeal transfigures our sight to perceive the glorious architecture and carvings, the magnificent embroidered curtain, the silent holy of holies as a mere shadow of something unseen, un-seeable, and subtle.Zeal helps us strive to manifest visibly the Temple of Christ’s body through justice, peace, respect, understanding, holiness, love. With zeal we preach the cross and it comes out sounding like foolishness. Nevertheless, fools or not, we are the living stones of the Temple.Perhaps only a fool can grasp the symmetry of grace.
Ba'al, 14-12th cent.BCE Bronze figurine, Louvre
Meditation Prompt "Idols"
You shall not make for yourself an idol … Exodus 20:4a
And at noon Elijah mocked (the priests of Ba’al), saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing, or he has gone aside, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 1Kings 18:27 Oxford Annotated Bible footnote: One of the sharpest satires on paganism ever penned.He has gone aside is probably a euphemism for attending to natural needs.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes have they, but they cannot see; They have ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell; They have hands, but they cannot feel; feet, but they cannot walk; they make no sound with their throat. Those who make them are like them, and so are all who put theirtrust in them.Psalm 115:4-8
Le Fol (Le Mat), Tarot de Marseille
Meditation Prompt "Fools"
…but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, St. Paul 1 Corinthians 1:27
…The Hermetic philosopher, … will mutter that this is a Master, when he notices that the limp bundle which he carries on the end of a stick over his shoulder is white, the colour of secrets and initiation, and that his feet are shod in red and pace firmly over real ground, not an imaginary base.His pouch is empty but it is pink, like his thighs and the dog which tries to get is teeth into them – symbols of animal nature and of possessions, to none of which he pays heed.By contrast, the staff on which he leans is gold, the colour of knowledge and of transcendental truth, as is the ground over which he strides, his shoulders and the cap on his head.Most important of all, he walks unhesitatingly, he goes forward. … the Fool denotes the boundaries of speech and what lies beyond computation. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, p.397
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere opinion, Bewilderment is intuition.Rumi
Third Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Expulsion of the money-changers from the Temple, Giotto, 1304-6, fresco
Meditation Prompt "The Temple – The Body of Christ"
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19
God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple: all you who believe in Christ and whose belief makes you love him.
Real belief in Christ means love of Christ: it is not the belief of the demons who believed without loving and therefore despite their belief said: What do you want with us, Son of God?
No; let our belief be full of love for him we believe in, so that instead of saying: What do you want with us, we may rather say: We belong to you, you have redeemed us.
All who believe in this way are like the living stones which go to build God’s temple, and like the rot-proof timber used in the framework of the ark which the flood waters could not submerge. It is in this temple, that is, in ourselves, that prayer is addressed to God and heard by him. –Augustine, Expositions on the Psalms
For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.Hebrews 9:24
Portrait of the Ferrara Court Jester Conella, Jean Fouquet, ca1442
His coming means a purge.So it is always not less with the shrine of our hearts than with the Jewish Temple. -William Temple, Readings in John’s Gospel