Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Saturday, May 1, 2010

City of God


If I'm not mistaken, this was the title of a book by St. Augustine, one of the greatest Fathers of the Latin Church.

The reason I bring it up is that I have been reading Vitruvius for "Analysis of Architectural Writings" exam. He tells the story of the architect Dinocrates. Dinocrates was Alexander the Great's personal architect, and when Alexander came to Egypt he "ordered Dinocrates to lay out the city Alexandria in his name." Thinking about this, I realized that it is our job to build the City of God. God the Father has ordered his Son, the architect of Creation to lay out His Kingdom and we are the builders. However, if we are to be the builders, where are our Blueprints? Where are God's drafts?

Well, when an architect conceives of a concept, he sketches it out after thinking it through. He works the kinks out, finally coming out with a design that will work. Then he drafts it and presents it. God himself has sketched out his City of God in the Old Testament. It's where all the ideas go, but it isn't fulfilled until it's drafted. This final draft is the New Testament. Some people may interpret this to mean that we should not pay any attention to the Old Testament, after all, it's just a sketch. However, you can't draft something easily without it sketched out first. The sketch is necessary and sometimes tells something to the viewer that the draft doesn't always explain, but together the whole thing makes sense.

During the Early Church, the City of God was being rendered in color, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the early Christians messed up, spilled their washes, didn't get enough water on the paper, the paint sometimes went outside the lines. Even we do this sometimes. We are so concerned about a certain part of the project that the paint dries elsewhere while we're focused on that certain part. We are often too watered down to stay in the lines. The lines are after all there for a reason. The master architect will be able to make an excellent presentation even if we stray out of the lines, but it would be a better presentation if we stayed in the lines.

Now we are building the City of God, but this isn't a City here on earth, it is the drawing of all into the Master Plan of Christ. The Salvation of Souls and the Eternal Life of heaven. Currently, we have a representative from the Heavenly Firm, namely the Pope. What always seems to happen is that the on-site architect is blamed for any mistakes there are. If there is a collapse in the structure, the workers might get hurt, and whosever fault it was will possibly never be known, but still the architect is blamed. In the same way, the pope is often blamed for the mistakes of others, for not paying enough attention to everything. He takes the fall for his workers. In the end though, it's not the architect at fault. He can't be everywhere at once.

The Spiritual work of building the City of God is all of ours in different ways. Some are plumbers, some carpenters, some siders, some are landscapers, some are metal-workers. But no matter what we mess up, we have to get past it and continue on the work that is ours. The work to build what Christ has designed as set down in Scripture (Sketch, and Draft) and Tradition (Watercolor). He has truly laid out the City of God, and we must build it in his name.

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