I arrived at my week's destination earlier this afternoon: I'm spending a week on Topsail Island, North Carolina, at a nice place called the Christian Family Life Center, a Marianist ministry that is, alas, set to close down in a couple of months. The idea was to have a place for families to come and spend a week -- only a short walk from the beach! -- and have some fun activities, some spiritual activities (the place has a chapel) and not spend too much money.
Sounds great, doesn't it? Alas, it seems it hasn't been doing so well, so it will soon close. I am sad about it because I have been here twice, and found it a perfect spot: a beach nearby, a chapel, a kitchen, restaurants, quiet, calm. Maybe things could turn around in the next two months? Or maybe someone reading this would like to take over the ministry and make a go of it?
Right after I arrived, I hit the beach, and prayed the office to the sound of the waves breaking. I thought about the choice of psalms for the office to our Lady, and it hit me (and this may have been obvious to you long before me): the Church chooses passages that speak glowingly of the temple, and of Jerusalem, Zion, Israel, because of how they apply to Mary. And here's how: throughout the Old Testament, the Scriptures heap praise and veneration on the temple, on Jerusalem, and on the nation of Israel, insofar as they are the dwelling place of the Most High. So then, if the temple, or if Jerusalem, is holy and precious for that reason, how much moreso the woman who was a living tabernacle?
I offer this for my Protestant and Evangelical friends who hold back from honoring Mary, and yet will be well aware of the passages I mean. Just consider how Scripture depicts the utter holiness of the ark of the covenant, and you will understand why Catholics and Orthodox give Mary such great veneration.
I don't know if I will post much this week; I'm just so happy to have the parochial vicar be a wise and level-headed priest, and to have a staff that can handle things, so I don't have to worry about things back home. The parishes are never far from my thoughts and prayers, but it is good to get a bit of a rest.