The ancient Cathedral inhaled freezing air, forcing it onto my back and blowing me through the threshold, into the Church. I reached back and wrestled with the door until the cold sky's hand slapped it shut in my face. I took a long breath and exhaled the anxiety of transition... I’m home.
As God is my true father, the Church is my true home. Jesus redeemed us by taking this Church, with my soul, as His bride. The only life I know is God, in gratitude for His merciful love, I will serve in the house of my Beloved.
I stood there on the precipice, at the bottom of the right arm of an enormous three-dimensional cross. The grand scene never grew old; it gently softened, it formed creases, it aged gracefully like a face. The features dimmed but the eyes brightened. Warm memories put my body at rest in the soul-gaze of an old friend. The familiarity of her blood-red floors, her swirling-marble posts, and her dark-cedar benches sharpened my awareness of God’s presence inside her, like the distant motions of human shape. They were waiting patiently, but eagerly, for my return, the most
intimate lovers and the most loyal friends: my family. The reality of God’s being was a thickness in the air heightening all my senses. Silence danced around my Lord and His Breath gave the stillness
Average beauty became extraordinary: transfigured by love. Precisely because this place was not a fantasy, like a Vegas hotel-lobby deceptively designed to appear flawless, but because this Church was built by humble hands for the glory of God, its imperfections were appropriate and comforting. Cracked-walls wore magnificent renaissance depictions of the Mysteries, like a mature woman who still fits in her satin-purple prom dress. Men had chiseled tiny roses in hidden corners, and painted winding vines on covered facades, knowing that no eyes but God's would see their work. Amber organ pipes of descending size, from the center out, stood up across the curving edge of the choir balcony, crowning all who entered under it. Intricate moldings decorated every open space with creeping branches, sleeping leaves, and twirling flowers, so that the interior looked drawn like the ornamental writing of Celtic letters. Spiraling columns four-feet-wide held up massive arches spanning over rows of pews, as cross-shaped ribs sheltering vital organs. At the intersection of the cross a dome rose up a hundred feet to unite earth and sky, matter and light. The lingering fragrance of incense lifted my head to see a tile-mosaic of the Ascension inside, raising my body up silky ladders for a mystical moment. Human stokes flowed into geometric precision, in an unparalleled Christian harmony of the earthly and Divine, mirroring the perfection of Beatific Vision.
In the center of the nave, at the top of the crossing, I knelt on creaking floorboards and thinning carpet before the breadbox that contained the cosmos. Six candles and a crucifix pointed from three directions to its shining golden gates. Ivory cherubim and seraphim surrounded His sacrament-house, joining with my soul in songs of adoration. "On earth as it is in Heaven." Angels surfed on the winds of my serene sighs and translated the prayers of my unspeakable groanings. Colored light blasted through the stained glass of the Eastern windows and onto my face: a metaphor for the dilating pupil of my inner eye. A river of power and peace released from the tabernacle-womb of the Mother of God; her water broke over me and I became her son.
My God is a family, and the Church is our home. I am brother to the children of God, and the Church is our mother. Brought into the Trinity by unity with Christ, every human person is my sibling, and the Catholic Mass is our communal Supper. Eternity overlaps time in this spiritual kiss through physical substance. God becomes corporeal without losing His simplicity or wholeness, in the same way that a family retains its identity even when apart. Only in the family is each member utterly unique and yet completely equal. My broken soul is made whole when my body dwells in the heart of the Church. So I pursue my priesthood. My brothers and sisters are losing track of their true identity, and they suffer for having lost their way Home. As a father protects and provides for his own, so I long to shield God’s children from starvation in the world and feed them with the Life of God's Body and Blood.