There are some very moving passages in the Hebrew Scriptures and one of these is the scene that describes King David's plans to build a Temple for the Lord. At the end of his life David recognises how good God has been to him and in an emotional moment of recognition wishes to build a dwelling worthy of God himself.
The old King says to his heir: "My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me upon the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name.'" (1 Chron 22; 5-19).
It is not difficult to sympathise with the old man's ambition, because we have also had ambitions about doing great thinks for God. Perhaps as we look back over life we can see that many such ambitions have not been carried out. Perhaps too, like David, we may regret that this has been the case because our hands are not perfectly clean and we have not been worthy of accomplishing our projects.
There is touching humility and faith in the manner in which David knows that God's work will be done but through the instrumentality of another. Because of this he does not hesitate to do his level best to prepare for the Temple by assembling all the material necessary for its construction.
"Fear not", he says to Solomon, "Be not dismayed. With great pains I have provided for the house of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, because there is so much of it; timber and stone too I have provided."
Many Regions are celebrating chapters about this time. Those who are going out of office may be disappointed at their achievements. But let them not think God has achieved nothing through them or that they should no hand on seeds they have sown for other to reap.
Each one of us should ask what is the "Temple" God wants me to be involved in. The answer will surly be that it is the "Temple" of our own heart. Our Lord assures us that "The Father and I will come and make our home with him". We are each temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let you door be open to him when he comes, open your soul, throw open your inmost mind, so that it may see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the sweetness of grace. Open your heart, meet the sun of eternal light that enlightens everyone. We know that such light shines on everyone, but if we have closed the windows it cannot enter. Christ is shut out if you close the door of your mind. Although he is able to enter he does not wish to do so uninvited.
The Song of Songs puts it so beautifully: "My brother is knocking at the door. I hear his voice. Open to me, my sister, my love, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night."
In the Gospel our Lord says: "I stand at the door and knock." He knocks on the doors of those who are tempted, pressed by tribulations and weighed down with distress. He is the physician come to heal, the bridegroom who comes if only we are awake. If we open the gate of faith the Shepherd will come in to his sheep.
Patrick Colbourne O. F. M. Cap.
National Spiritual Assistant
Feast of St Bonaventure, Minister General, Bishop and Doctor.
Contact: Jack Smith: phone 61-2-62583824 firstname.lastname@example.org