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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brick by Brick

Today,  a little after 4:30 I took my umbrella and braved the Seattle rain and early dark to walk to church.  Seattle's dark and wet winters have been my challenge since I returned to my native city after years in California.
And yet somehow  braving the foul weather adds a sense of purpose to my walking to Blessed Sacrament.

The church is a beautiful brick neo-Gothic Cathedral like structure that has been restored to it's original design in recent years-in time for it's Centenary last year. I entered while most of the lights were still off, an extension of the dark contemplative mood of the green Seattle streets and the wet deep clouded sky.

I sat in the dark wood benches and looked at the wood trimmed back drop to the altar.  The brick has been restored to original condition, except for traces of paint in some places that would not come off. Red predominates the brick, but some of the bricks are light brown or chocolate. The ceiling is bare wood directly under the high roof.

I waited for evening prayer.  I could have joined, but I preferred to sit in the pews and follow as best I could.  In the Magnificant from St. Luke, chanted during the prayers Mary sums up the Old Testament and says that the poor will be given good things and the rich sent away empty. My prayers were for myself and all those suffering in todays economy.

At the end of mass sitting with Christ in my heart I looked again at the bricks of this beautiful church. I supposed that at the bottom was Christ himself, the foundation, and then the next bricks were St. Peter followed by the other apostles, then Mary and the early martyrs, and early doctors of the church, then the desert fathers and on up higher towards the vaulted roof, a new temple for Christ, in which we ourselves if our lives are prayerful and good, reside.

In Exodus we have detailed description of the tent in which the ark of the covenant is placed.  Later in the bible the temple in Jerusalem is described in great detail. But where is the description of the Christian Church. it begins in the book of acts and continues through the lives of the saints.  Our own lives are meant to be a part of it.

And here in this temple the poor can be treated with the dignity they are not treated with in the world in general.  When St. Lawrence, my confirmation patron was asked by the Romans to bring the wealth of the church, he brought the poor from the streets of Rome.  For this he was burned on the gridiron.

I walked home through the dark wet streets with Christ in my heart, vowing to him to tell you this.


  1. Joseph--Thank you for your prayers for us all.

  2. My friend Louie, currently living in Mauritius, off the coast of East Africa, emailed me this when his attempt to post failed.

    Dear Joseph, I tried to post the following comment:

    Dearest Joseph,

    I have always told you how much I enjoy the depth of you feelings! You know how to bring them to life in the life of others!

    Thank you for sharing your meditation – Thank you for bringing to life the Church we love so much – the building that witnessed the building of our emotions being built brick by brick.

    I live among the poorest on earth – I am grateful to God for all the happiness they share with me from the bottom of their hearts – I have never ever seen so much happiness before when I rubbed shoulders with the rich! St Lawrence knew what he was doing!!!!

    I hope and pray to be able to welcome you here some day.

    God’s will be done! I can well relate to what you write so vividly – Thank you!!!

    I do not know if it posted or not? Where I live - I am one of the MOST lucky few to have a slow and costly 'Dial Up Connection' Yes they still exist in some parts of the world!

    God bless you,