Thursday, November 21, 2013

You are “A” Holy of Holies

Today is the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos (Bearer of God) in the Temple. According to the Holy Tradition of the Church, when she was about three years old she was brought to the temple by her aged parents Joachim and Anna to live. You might compare this practice to the Virgin Mary becoming a “Temple Virgin” and living among the other virgins within the Court of Women. Upon entering the Temple, according to the ancient Holy Tradition, she dwelt within the Holy of Holies and was fed by the hand of the Archangel Gabriel. Much of this story is included in the Protoevangelium of James, commonly attributed to Jesus’ half-brother, a son of Joseph. I encourage you to read the whole selection. You will be inspired. Most, including so-called cradle Orthodox, are not totally aware of the depth of the Holy Tradition about the Holy Virgin, most of which, though not Scriptural, helps us better grasp the awesomeness of the “Christmas Story.”

So the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, entered into the place reserved ONLY for the High Priest (and then only once per year) to offer the Atonement Offering. It was within the Holy of Holies that, by the grace and permission of God, humans and God could commune. It was only natural that the Most Holy Virgin, who was chosen by God as the first human to physically commune with God through the mystery of the Divine Incarnation, would be welcomed into the Holy of Holies.

But YOU too are a Holy of Holies of sorts. When you were baptized (if you have been) you became the Temple of the Living God. (2 Corinthians 6.16) Since that moment, God has lived in you through His Holy Spirit. Every time you receive Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, you commune physically with the Incarnate Word of God.

When God commanded Moses to construct His Holy Temple, He commanded that only the finest materials be used. The Temple was the dwelling place of God where humans and God would interact. It was a place of reverence and holiness. You can read about the construction of the Temple in Exodus 25-31.

If God commanded respect and reverence for the Temple made of stone, how much more should we care for the Temple not made with hands? We seem to forget that our bodies ARE temples of God. Would we desecrate the Temple of God with graffiti? Would we use the Temple of God to store tools for cleaning out sewers? Yet, every time we treat our human body with anything but the utmost respect, we are desecrating the Temple of God – the Holy of Holies.

Something to think about…

This post is written for the 40 Days of Blogging Challenge sponsored by the Preachers Institute. You may find other blogs participating in this challenge. I hope you enjoy this year’s Advent journey.

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