Temples of the Holy Spirit
Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves Me will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him" — John 14:23.
Last time, we discovered that the heart is the core of a person, the place where we form relationships with other people. This month, we'll talk about the heart as the home for God.
"The home for God?" I hear you ask. "Why on earth (or in heaven) would God want to come home to my heart?" Simply because that's where God belongs. As St. John teaches us:
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love (1 Jn 4:7-8).
God is love! Pope Benedict XVI considered that truth so important that he made it the focus of his first encyclical, citing another passage from John:
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 Jn 4:16).
God abides in the heart that keeps Jesus' word (see Jn 14) — that is, in the heart that obeys the law of God. What law? The law of love.
Jesus lays out the two great commandments plainly:
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37-39).
God abides in the heart that loves God and neighbor, obedient to Christ's commandment. Christians, those who obey the commandments of Jesus for love of Him, become temples of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor 6:19) and houses of God. And more — Christians become His family (see Lk 8:21).
In light of all this, consider Mary's Immaculate Heart. Mary is the Immaculate Conception, the woman without sin, the woman with whom God fell in love. Mary obeys God perfectly out of love. She is uniquely and perfectly the house of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, for she housed Jesus for nine months in her womb. Her heart is heaven in a uniquely powerful way, for she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Remember that the heart is the place of relationship and of covenant. The Holy Spirit, then, finds His home in her heart like a husband in a wife's heart. The marriage of the Person of the Holy Spirit and the person of Mary is enacted in her heart. There, divine love meets perfect human love, and human love pours herself out into divine love. There, God is fully welcomed by a creature, and there a creature receives the fullness of God. There, mystery piles upon mystery and grace upon grace, for within the body of the person of Mary, God becomes man, and Mary becomes Mother of God — the Mother of Love.
Next time, we'll discuss how the Trinity dwelling in the human heart is the same thing as sanctifying grace.
For more, see Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC's The 'One Thing' Is Three (Product Code: TH-ONE), pps. 27-49. To order, call 1-800-462-7426 or visit shopmercy.org.
Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart
Mary Pondered in Her Heart
The Heart of The Matter
Temples of the Holy Spirit
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
Confession Resurrects You
Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
Through Darkness Into Light
Mary, Mother of Christians
Salt. Light. Hope.