Mary, House of Gold
COLUMNIST, New York
"Difficult as it is to imagine the interior sanctity of Mary, it is still more difficult to realize her exterior dignity as Mother of God, for we should then need to understand the nature of Almighty God Himself and to comprehend the infinity of His Divine perfections."
[Rev. Thomas Flynn, House of Gold, 1919]
I. "And there was nothing in the temple that was not covered with gold. . ."
Like a diamond, which reveals its many facets when struck by light, so is the collection of Marian titles known as the Litany of Loreto. Each one of the titles of Our Blessed Mother preserved in this venerable collection seems, on first sight, to offer a single vantage point from which to view her. However, on closer inspection, we find that they are multifaceted titles, revealing more and more of Mary's glory and prerogatives as we shine more "light" upon them. This article will explore one of these titles-----Domus Aurea, "House of Gold." There are some truly fine treasures to be found herein.
In the ancient world, as today, gold was symbolic of "worth", representing a thing whose value cannot be superseded. It epitomized the idea of the precious, and was found in temples and the homes of the wealthy. As with some of the other more intriguing titles from Our Lady's Litany, "House of Gold" finds it's genesis in the Old Testament, in the description of the magnificent Temple built to the Lord by King Solomon, and completed sometime around the year 953 B.C.:
And he made the oracle in the midst of the house, in the inner part, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Now the oracle was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height. And he covered it, and overlaid it with most pure gold. And the altar also he covered with cedar. And the house before the oracle he overlaid with most pure gold, and fastened on the plates with nails of gold. And there was nothing in the temple that was not covered with gold: the whole altar of the oracle he covered also with gold. And he made in the oracle two cherubims of olive tree, of ten cubits in height . . . And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. And the floor of the house he also overlaid with gold within and without. And in the entrance of the oracle, he made little doors of olive tree, and posts of five corners . . . And two doors of olive tree: and he carved upon them figures of cherubims, and figures of palm trees, and carvings very much projecting; and he overlaid them with gold: and he covered both the cherubims and the palm trees, and the other things, with gold. [3 Kgs. 6] Why was there such an abundance of gold used in the construction of this Temple? Solomon himself gave us the answer: "I purpose to build a temple to the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my Father, saying: 'Thy son, whom I will set upon the throne, in thy place, he shall build a house to My name.' "
[3 Kgs. 5: 5] Solomon's Temple was built in such a manner for the same reason that Catholic Churches were at one time designed to be places of beauty, where silence, shadow and art combined to call the mind of the faithful away from the mundane world for a time, the better to speak-----and listen-----to God. In short, they were built as earthly dwellings for the Almighty. When the Temple of Solomon was finally dedicated, it was a day of rejoicing:
And all Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon, on the festival day, in the month of Ethanim, the same is the seventh month. And all the ancients of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark, and carried the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the covenant, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, that were in the tabernacle: and the priests and the Levites carried them. And King Solomon, and all the multitude of Israel, that were assembled unto him, went with him before the ark, and they sacrificed sheep and oxen, that could not be counted or numbered. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord into its place, into the oracle of the temple, into the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubims. [3 Kgs. 8: 2-6] It was only then, after the Temple had been carefully designed and built from the finest materials available-----a veritable "House of Gold"-----after all these necessary preparations had been made and the Ark of the Covenant resided within its walls, that God Himself came to dwell in this house: And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the sanctuary, that a cloud filled the house of the Lord, and the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon said: The Lord said that He would dwell in a cloud. Building, I have built a house for Thy dwelling, to be Thy most firm throne for ever. [3 Kgs. 8: 10-13] Consider the Blessed Virgin as a "temple" which was prepared to receive the Living God, the same God Who filled the house of the Lord in the time of King Solomon. She, too, was "designed" to honor her Lord, to be a fit dwelling for the Eternal Godhead. The original Temple was overlaid with gold everywhere. Gold is symbolic of purity; it is a metal that is refined. To refine something is to free it from impurities, to perfect it, to remove from it anything that is vulgar or coarse. Through the privilege of the Immaculate Conception, the first fruits of Our Lord's Sacrifice on Calvary, Mary was kept free from the stain of Original Sin, "refined" in the most sublime way imaginable, for she was not cleansed from the impurity of Original Sin, but was actually preserved from contracting any such stain on her perfect soul. Thus, she became a worthy dwelling for the Eternal Wisdom. "It was becoming," wrote St. Bonaventure [+ 1274], "that the Blessed Virgin Mary, by whom our shame was to be blotted out, and by whom the devil was to be conquered, should never, even for a moment, have been under his dominion."
If an inanimate substance-----refined gold-----can symbolize something precious and perfect, than how much more precious is the Woman, blessed among all women, who would be asked to give her consent to the Divine Maternity, after which she would carry the Living God in her womb for nine months, clothing the Word of God in her own flesh? Truly, the grand Temple built by Solomon, even in its scope and majesty, was but a pale foreshadowing of Mary, the true House of Gold: "You, O Mary, have been made the holy one, and more glorious, more pure, and more saintly than all the rest of humankind, having a mind whiter than snow, and your soul more purified than the finest gold" [St. Gregory Thaumatur + c.270].
II. "The Heart of our amiable Mother is filled with love of God and charity towards us . . ."
King Solomon's Temple contained many beautiful objects: the oracle overlaid with gold, the altar covered with cedar and gold, the two cherubims of olive tree, overlaid with gold, the Ark of the Covenant itself, etc. In Book Eight of his Antiquities of the Jews, the historian Flavius Josephus [d. c. 100 AD] relates that the Temple contained, among other things, twenty thousand golden tables, a hundred thousand golden vials, eighty thousand golden dishes and twenty thousand golden censers, plus a comparable amount of objects made from silver. In this sense, the Temple was truly a storehouse of precious things, a depository of all that was intended to be pleasing to God.
The Blessed Virgin, like the Temple, is also a storehouse of all that is pleasing to God. She is "full of grace," and in her beautiful soul can be found nothing that does not shine with purity, charity, faith and a burning love for Jesus Christ:
The angelic St. Thomas says, that all things that are ordained for God should be holy and free from stain: "Holiness is to be attributed to those things that are ordained for God." Hence when David was planning the Temple of Jerusalem, on a scale of magnificence becoming a God, he said, For a house is prepared not for man, but for God. How much more reasonable, then, is it to suppose that the sovereign architect, who destined Mary to be the Mother of His own Son, adorned her soul with all most precious gifts, that she might be a dwelling worthy of a God! [St. Alphonsus Ligouri +1787, The Glories of Mary] It is Catholic dogma that Mary was filled with Divine grace from the first moment of her conception. Writers over the centuries have speculated on the "amount" of grace bestowed upon Our Lady, and have at times even compared and contrasted it to the amount of grace given to both Angels and men, in an effort to get an idea of its depths. In the end, we are left facing a prodigy-----nothing less than the Holy Mother of God: Entering upon the discussion of the sanctity of Mary, we enter, Parthenius, upon a boundless ocean, which has not yet been, and never can be, navigated by a human nor even an angelical mind: think, then, whether we can navigate it. But it matters not; we shall be equally blessed, if wrecked and lost on this ocean of graces. [D. Roberto, The Love of Mary, 1856] The plenitude of graces filling Mary's soul must surely be beyond imagining, for they prepared her, firstly, to be the Mother of God . . . and, secondly, to become Mother of the entire Church redeemed by her Son. God bestows His graces as and when they are needed. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, explained how a "sting" of the flesh was given to him to protect him from pride. He beseeched the Lord on three occasions for relief from this sting and heard this reply: "My grace is sufficient for thee, for power is made perfect in infirmity." St. Paul comments on this Divine proclamation: "Gladly herefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
[2 Co. 12: 9]"
"Sufficient" grace? Can anyone comprehend he amount of grace which would "suffice" to prepare a woman to receive the Godhead into her womb and give birth to the Incarnate Son of God? "From Heaven did Christ choose for Himself this vessel," wrote St. Ambrose [+397] of Mary, "whereby He might descend, and consecrate it a temple of purity." St. Paul could glory in his weakness, because it provided the catalyst for that grace through which the power of Christ would "dwell" in him. But look at Our Lady. It was Christ Himself Who would dwell in her-----literally. There would be no spiritual "infirmities" to weigh down the thoughts and actions of this Mother. This living 'temple", like the Golden Temple of Solomon, would be consecrated to the Lord, but in a far superior way, for she would choose to give herself entirely to the Blessed Trinity, thus becoming an active participant in God's plan for the redemption of the human race. "Truly the Mother of God is blessed that she gave Him flesh," wrote St. Bede the Venerable [+735], "but she is by far the most blessed of all in that her love for Him excels for all eternity."
In short, to understand the dignity of Mary, and the graces bestowed upon her, we must understand the dignity of Jesus Christ, the Author and Source of Grace. If King Solomon could bestow the greatest riches on his Temple, to insure that it would be nothing less than a marvel to all the world, than what riches of beauty and grace could not God Himself bestow upon she who would become His living temple?
This temple was not like Solomon's, built by a host of workmen, but by the Almighty Hand of God, Who can achieve greater wonders in a single instant than all the powers of Heaven and earth can accomplish during the whole of eternity. Not only is her Heart entirely covered with King Solomon's gold, but it is itself wrought of the finest and purest gold to be found in the universe. The Heart of our amiable Mother is filled with love of God and charity towards us. In this temple God is adored more profoundly and worthily, praised and glorified more perfectly than in all other material or spiritual temples that ever were and shall be in Heaven and on earth, the sacred humanity of Jesus alone excepted. [St. John Eudes + 1680, The Admirable Heart of Mary] "If you look diligently at Mary," wrote St. Jerome [+420], "there is nothing of virtue, nothing of beauty, nothing of splendor or glory which does not shine in her." And how could it be otherwise for the singular Lady who would become the First Daughter of God the Father, Mother of God the Son and Spouse of God the Holy Ghost? Truly, we are in uncharted waters here.
Sadly, we live in a time when certain people, including "Catholics", become very uncomfortable when the Blessed Virgin is eloquently praised, as though Our Lord, like some jealous child, would somehow resent our fascination with His "Masterpiece". Of course, the very idea is ludicrous. If we are drawn to Mary, we are drawn to her for the simple reason that God has made her "lovable":
And did not the All-wise know the human heart when He took to Himself a Mother? Did He not anticipate our emotion at the sight of such an exaltation in one so simple and so lowly? If He had not meant her to exert that wonderful influence in His Church, which she has in the event exerted, I will use a bold word, He it is who has perverted us. If she is not to attract our homage, why did He make her solitary in her greatness amid His vast creation? If it be idolatry in us to let our affections respond to our faith, He would not have made her what she is, or He would not have told us that He had so made her; but, far from this, He has sent His Prophet to announce to us, "A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel," and we have the same warrant for hailing her as God's Mother, as we have for adoring Him as God. [Cardinal Newman d. 1890, A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey] And, no, contrary to the objections of many Protestants, we do not "divinize" Mary by our praise and recognition, nor do we render her "too much" homage-----as if we could, even if we wanted to! We appreciate the warm humanity of Mary as much as we marvel at her grandeur. She is a Queen, true, and the greatest that was or ever will be, but she is also a Mother. . . and not only a Mother, but our Mother.
Because of her Divine Maternity, Our Lady was conceived without the stain of Original Sin, and we know that she never committed any manner of sins during her life, for her Immaculate Heart beat in time to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son, and the very thought of rejecting Him, even for a moment, was completely alien to her:
If anyone shall say that a man once justified can sin no more that throughout his whole life he
can avoid all sins even venial sins, except by a special privilege of God, as the Church holds in regard to the Blessed Virgin: let him be anathema. [Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Denzinger 833]
Does this fact make Our Lady seem "inhuman", or more like a "plaster saint" than a real person? To believe so is to believe that it is people's sins which ultimately form the yardstick by which we measure their "humanity". However, real life teaches us something very different. Our sins never fail to brutalize us and, all too often, those with whom we come into contact. Actually, sin dehumanizes us. It stands to reason, then, that someone who is completely removed from sin would be truly human, "alive" in the fullest sense of the term, and very far removed from anything resembling some two-dimensional cardboard "paragon of virtue". Our Lord Himself, knowing full well our human frailty and weakness, nevertheless says, "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect Go, and now sin no more." A question may be asked of those who are uncomfortable with Mary's sinlessness. If one of the results of following the commandments of Jesus is a desire, at least, to avoid sin, why vilify someone who does just that? Is it not sheer bigotry to call oneself a "follower of Jesus", and then resent His Mother for living a life devoid of sin-----i.e., a life completely devoted to Jesus?
Catholic theologians have never equated Mary's "fullness" of grace with Christ's "fullness of grace. Whenever we speak of something being "filled", we must always consider the capacity of the object being filled. A thimble that is full of water cannot be compared to a tanker-truck that is full of water, even though both are correctly described as FULL. It is the capacity of each one which determines its effectiveness as a receptacle. In the Book of Acts, St. Stephen is described as "full of grace and fortitude." Yet, this was written before St. Stephen became the Church's first Martyr. With this Martyrdom, Stephen attained his own fullest capacity for grace, like a "receptacle" which had expanded to hold a greater quantity.
Just as Solomon's Temple could be filled with more and more precious objects, so could Mary's soul merit further increases of grace. The Council of Trent taught that such increases can be
If anyone shall say. . . that the one justified by the good works, which are done by him through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ [whose living member he is], does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life [if he should die in grace]: let him be anathema. [Canons on Justification, Denzinger #842] Because Our Lady was not Divine, she could never have reached the measure of grace to be found in Jesus Christ: It has been pointed out that Mary possessed grace not as Christ possessed it, in the absolute maximum degree in which it can be possessed, but in a relative fullness, i.e., in the fullness fitting and necessary to exercise her office as Mother of God. Now, such a fullness is finite, and capable of increase. Therefore, Mary's fullness of grace was compatible with growth and increase. At the moment of her conception, Mary had the fullness of grace which was befitting her as the future Mother of the Savior. At the moment of the Incarnation, she possessed a greater fullness, one befitting the actual Mother of God. Finally, at the last moment of her earthly existence, she had an even greater fullness of grace, one namely, which was befitting her as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven. [Frank P. Calkins, OSM, "Mary's Fullness of Grace," Mariology, Vol. II, ed.by Fr. Juniper Carol, 1957]
This does not contradict earlier references which referred to Mary as a "boundless ocean" of grace. She is, after all, the Immaculate Conception. Her mind and heart were unfettered by concupiscence and confusion, free to love God completely, free to correspond wholeheartedly to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. In addition, she literally gave the Source of Grace, Our Lord, to the world. St. Thomas Aquinas [+1274] taught that the closer anything approaches to its principle, the more perfect it becomes. As Mother of God, no human being ever was or ever will be closer to the Blessed Trinity than Mary. What unimaginable graces must have been granted to her, allowing her to establish such an intimate familiarity with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?
Full of Grace as she was, Our Blessed Mother could still merit further increases of grace by her own acts of virtue. Considering that her entire mind and heart belonged to God, one can scarcely imagine the value of these virtuous acts. Let us also consider that, after her Son's Ascension into Heaven, Our Lady could receive grace through her reception of the Eucharist. Mary's capacity for the reception of graces increased during her earthly journey, until, at last, she stood on Calvary beneath the Cross of Jesus as Queen of Martyrs and Co-Redemptrix. "So holy and impenetrable is the Heart of Mary," wrote St. John Eudes, "that only God Who enclosed within His treasures of grace and put His seal upon it, can know the quality, quantity and price of the graces hidden in this sealed fountain." Like Solomon's Temple, filled with gold and silver riches, Mary too was indeed a storehouse of precious things: "As all in the Temple was covered with gold, so was everything in the beautiful soul of Our Lady filled with sanctity. [Aquinas]
III. "She began to speak and from her beautiful eyes tears also started to flow . . . "
King Solomon's Golden Temple was built to be more than a "dwelling place" for God, for whenever God asks that His people labor to build something to His Name, it is always the people who benefit from it. The greatest cathedrals ever built may be paragons of artistic and architectural glory, but in the end, their true value has always resided in the Sacraments administered beneath their vaulted ceilings, and in that most Blessed Sacrament that is housed therein. And so it was with the Temple of Solomon. It was God's people who would benefit by the construction of this marvelous "House of Gold." Within its walls, He would hear their prayers and supplications, accept their offerings, and minister to them in their trials and necessities. In Solomon's prayer, uttered at the dedication of the Temple, we hear words which could also be applied to Catholic Churches, as though to foreshadow these structures that would one day be built to house the Living God, present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in their tabernacles. This prayer also foreshadows that Woman who would become the very image of the Church [the "Great Sign" described in St. John's apocalyptic vision, a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars]:
Is it then to be thought that God should indeed dwell upon earth? For if Heaven, and the heavens of heavens, cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built? But have regard to the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplications, O Lord, my God: hear the hymn and the prayer, which Thy servant prayeth before Thee this day: That Thy eyes may be open upon this house, night and day: upon the house of which Thou hast said: My name shall be there: that Thou mayst hearken to the prayer which Thy servant prayeth, in this place to Thee: That Thou mayst hearken to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, whatsoever they shall pray for in this place, and hear them in the place of Thy dwelling in Heaven; and when Thou hearest; shew them mercy. [3 Kgs. 8: 27-30]
The people, by taking refuge in the Temple, would place themselves in a position whereby the Lord would hear them and accept their supplications: That Thou mayst hearken to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, whatsoever they shall pray for in this place. We find this attribute of the original Temple mirrored in the Blessed Virgin. Because of her role as Mediatrix of All Graces, all our prayers and petitions to the Lord will pass through her hands. Just as the Israelites prayed to God in the refuge of the Golden Temple, where He deigned to hear them, so must we pray to Him in the refuge of His "Living" Temple, Mary. Just as God showed mercy to His people when they prayed in the Temple, so are we shown mercy through the intercession of the Mother of
To invoke the patronage of Mary, the Mother of Sorrows, will be of the greatest utility to every Christian in the great work of his eternal salvation. Two things prove this: the goodness of our Mother, overflowing with grace and compassion, and the recalling to her heart the Passion of Our Lord. The first opens for us, during our whole life, and above all at the hour of our last combat, an assured refuge within the arms of the most tender of mothers; the second is for us a pledge of the inexhaustible bounties of the Divine mercy. [Pope St. Pius X, Ubere in fructu, April 30, 1911] There is one more consideration to be raised concerning the Virgin's title, "House of Gold," and that is her glorious Assumption into Heaven. We have seen that King Solomon designed his Temple so that it would be covered in gold, and filled with gold and silver implements. This gave the structure a sense of brilliance, of refinement, of purity . . . almost a sense of "incorruptibility". How well can we see the Mother of God in this aspect of the Temple. It is a Revealed Truth that Mary never experienced the corruption of the grave, but was assumed body and soul into Heaven "after having completed the course of her earthly life" [Pope Pius XII]. What commerce could decay and the corruption of the tomb hold with the Perpetual Virgin whose body was, for a time, the very House of God? It was necessary that the body of the one who preserved her virginity intact in giving birth should also be kept incorrupt after death. It was necessary that she, who carried the Creator in her womb when He was a baby, should dwell among the tabernacles of Heaven. [St. John Damascene + c.750, Homily 2 On the Dormition] One would hope that common sense, if nothing else, would steer someone of good will to a belief in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Consider that the dogma was not papally defined until the year 1950, yet it was never questioned by people of good will from the earliest days of the Church. How can anyone professing love for Christ look himself in the mirror and answer this question of St. Robert Bellarmine [+1621] with anything but complete agreement? Oh, who should bring himself to believe that it is fallen in ruins, this ark of holiness, this home of the Word Incarnate, this temple of the Holy Ghost? Does not the mind recoil from the very thought of it, this virgin flesh to be the breeding ground of dust, the prey of worms, that had gendered and born, had suckled and nursed a God? [On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary] The society in which traditional-minded Catholics find themselves living today has all the rational integrity of a hall of mirrors. Political-correctness has saturated what passes for "communication", and everyone is walking on eggshells lest they give offense to a neighbor on any number of grounds-----racial, religious, physical, mental, medical, etc. The greatest crime in the world today appears to be that of saying something that may offend someone else, regardless of intent. Never, since the dawn of time, have men and women "bruised" so easily!
Of course, there is one "target" today that is exempt from all this PC "sensitivity" and "inclusiveness". That target is none other than the only icon of salvation available to a miserable world-----"the Child with Mary His mother," the object of the Wise Men's diligent search after the very first Christmas. The number of blasphemous plays, art exhibits and songs, which have no other reason for existing than to hurl the most obscene insults at Our Lord and Our Lady, is staggering in a world that it so quick to bill itself as more enlightened than earlier, "superstitious" eras. This is why it is important for Catholics to form some idea of the depth of Our Lady's titles, and to know what the great Catholic minds of the past have written about them. This is also why we must praise Mary today with no hesitation, no fear that we may "overdo" it and possibly cause some non-Catholics to run home weeping because of the robust quality of our Marian doctrines. This is why "De Maria Numquam Satis"-----of Mary, there is never enough!-----must be the rallying cry of those who still call themselves "Catholics" and mean it.
In our troubled time, many Catholic priests and theologians seem somewhat embarrassed by Our Lady's dignity, and they endlessly equivocate, in the most effeminate manner, concerning her doctrines and dogmas at various Mariological Congresses and "ecumenical" meetings, where, more often than not, they joyfully rub elbows with non-Catholics who couldn't care less about Mary's dignity or honor. Therefore, now would be an ideal time to revive a now outdated attitude which considers the Blessed Virgin's honor as a thing worthy to be cherished and defended. This can be done by familiarizing ourselves with the meaning of and logic behind her doctrines, and thus armed with the Truth, standing ready to defend her from any and all assaults. It is a time to speak bluntly of her glories and prerogatives, and with great affection.
As stated earlier, "whenever God asks that His people labor to build something to His Name, it is always the people who benefit from it." The same principle applies to the Immaculata destined to become the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Mary became the Immaculate Conception to prepare her for her Divine Maternity, to make her a worthy Mother for the Incarnate God. Her beauty of soul, her virginity, her virtues were reserved for One being only-----her Divine Son. She never reveled in her perfection, the way others would, boasting about such gifts of body and soul. On the contrary, look at the words she used to describe herself: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid." Her Divine gifts were never hoarded to bolster her own esteem in the eyes of men, but instead they were spent lavishly upon the Infant of Bethlehem and the youthful Jesus.
When Mary's Son had completed the work of Redemption, and ascended to His Father in Heaven, Our Lady's Spiritual Motherhood of the Church was made manifest in the infant Church led by the Apostles. We call her the Mediatrix of all Graces, because such is the role given her by Our Lord, which she now exercises from her throne in Heaven, but we should remember that her powers of intercession were at work even while she walked the earth. We know this from the Gospel reading of the wedding feast at Cana, where Our Lord used the occasion to teach His followers, then and now, about the efficacious maternal concern of His Mother and ours. While this Scriptural event serves as a "paradigm" for the doctrine of Mary's intercessory role in the Church, who can even begin to count the number of other times she interceded for men and women during those years while she still walked among them, especially after Jesus ascended into Heaven, leaving His Church to take her first baby steps . . . under the watchful eye of Mary, her Mother. It is with good reason that the Church applies these words of the Psalms, foreshadowing the Catholic Church, to Mary, the Mother of the Church: "Shall not Sion say, This man and that man is born in her? And the Highest himself hath founded her. [86: 5]"
No, Our Lady never hoarded her privileges and Divine gifts while she nurtured Jesus on earth, and she does not do so as she nurtures each of us on our mortal journey to eternity. The wonders of grace filling the true Domus Aurea, the living "House of Gold," are always turned to our benefit. "Know you not that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost [1 Co. 6: 19]," asked St. Paul of the Catholics in Corinth. If such can be said of the followers of Christ, what can we say of she who carried Him within her body? If the Golden Temple of Solomon, an inanimate object, was a fitting "house" for the Lord, how much more fitting was His living "house," the Mother who would bear Him, hold Him, nurse Him, carry Him, and give Him that maternal love that all Infants need so much.
It is a fact unappreciated by most Catholics today that Our Lady showers this same motherly affection on her "other" children, the members of the Church founded by her Son and presented to her in the person of St. John on Calvary: Woman, behold thy son. How deep does this love of Mary for her spiritual children run? This is how Our Lady of La Salette appeared to Melanie Calvat on September 19, 1846: "I saw a most beautiful lady sitting on top of our Paradise [a small stone house built by the children], with her head in her hands She began to speak and from her beautiful eyes tears also started to flow." What a sight to contemplate the glorious Virgin in tears for a humanity that plunges itself ever deeper into spiritual turpitude and hardness of heart with each passing year!
The members of the True Church are blessed indeed to have such a Mother in Heaven. We are blessed beyond description in this Woman who watches over us, who intercedes for us, who even sheds tears for us. This living Domus Aurea, "House of Gold," is a pledge of Christ's love for His Church-----Behold thy Mother! This title of hers, one of the jewels of the Litany of Loreto, is one for which we may be eternally grateful:
Our Lady is the Golden Temple of the Blessed Trinity, or the House of Gold, placed among men as a symbol of God's bounty. For in her the Divine Word became incarnate and dwelt among us as an effusion of the eternal light and the source of eternal life, and a revelation of the eternal wisdom of God through the maternal activity of Mary, the Mother of God. Mary is the mirror that reflects this invading light, and, after bringing it into the world, it remains her eternal task to bring us to the full perception of this revealing light. The Lord says: "I have chosen, and have sanctified this place, that my name may be there for ever, and my eyes and my heart may remain there perpetually. [2 Par. 7: 16]"
------Fr. Richard Klaver, The Litany of Loreto, 1954
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