As August goes flying by, almost coming to an end, I wanted to share with you something I read during my vacation. As you may have guessed, Edward Hayes is one of my favorite authors. Last week I took his book The Magic Lantern: A Mystical Murder Mystery with me while I was away. Although I haven’t finished it yet, something I read spoke to me, and I thought it would resonate with all of you.
Telling this part of the story is not a ‘spoiler’. The main character, George, is on a spiritual journey that has led him to a boarding house, where he has taken the job of cook and handyman. Without too many details, George is at Mass one morning when he witnesses several people removing bricks from the walls of the church. Curious, he asks the Father, “What’s that ritual about?”
Fr. Fiasco explains in this way: “St. Paul said that we are the living stones of the New Testament. People easily forget that and continue to cling to the idea of the church being a sacred building. My people take a brick home to awaken them to the fact that they are living bricks of the real temple of God.”
During the day, the brick, no matter where it is located in the house, is a reminder to build up the church. When the folks come back to the church, they place the brick back for the time they are there. I hope this whets your interest in reading the book to see what else happens to George on his journey!
I couldn’t stop thinking about the bricks and the words of St. Paul. I started questioning myself to see if I considered myself a living stone, building up the Kingdom of God. Our Foundress, Blessed Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd, Frances Siedliska, encouraged us to build up the Kingdom of God wherever we were. Was I doing that, or was I stuck on the thought of church being a sacred building?
I would like to think that I myself am a living stone (or brick) and continue building up the Kingdom. Where do you find yourself in this story? Sometimes, it is easier to think of church as building instead of living, breathing humans. After all, buildings don’t talk back or question, disagree, or become stubborn and caught up in their own opinions – people do!
At first, George doesn’t take a brick. I am curious to see if he ever takes up the spiritual practice. Perhaps this week, you may want to take a stone, brick, or rock and place it in a well-traveled spot in your house to remind you that YOU are church, and as disciples of Jesus need to continue to build up His church.
Blessings! I’ll let you know what happens to George after I finish the book!
Till next week,