Monday, August 24, 2015
The angel spoke to me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. Revelation 21:9B-11
But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel.” John 1:46-47A
Rule of St. Benedict Chapter 66: On the Porters of the Monastery
At the gate of the monastery let there be placed a wise old woman, who knows how to receive and to give a message, and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about. This porter should have a room near the gate, so that those who come may always find someone at hand to attend to their business. And as soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her, let her answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!" Then let her attend to them promptly, with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God and with the warmth of charity.
Only the richest images are called upon to describe the New Jerusalem (aka the new church). Many of symbols were borrowed by St. John (and his from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. Whether penned around 600 B.C. like the book of Ezekiel or A.D. 200 like Revelation, beyond the symbolism, we are invited. “Come here.” “Come and see.” The east gate is unlocked and opened for us. It remains our decision to choose to enter or not.
As we are invited in, all our needs will be met. Is it any wonder that St. Benedict placed a porter at the monastery door to provide hospitality to any visitors who knocked? Ask and you shall. Seek and ye will. Knock and the door will be. The door to heaven opened for Nathanael on earth through the person of Jesus. It opened in a vision for Jacob. It, too, will be opened for us.
When I was in college, there was a popular poster in some rooms depicting fine bread, grapes and wine with the inscription: “Jesus of Nazareth requests the honor of your presence at a dinner to be held in his honor?”
Sometimes when my parents would call me to do a particular chore growing up (cutting the grass, cleaning the pool, taking out the trash), if I did not move right away to complete the task, I might get a stern comment, “What are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?!”
The invitation is still open. It reads, “INRI.” Are you ready to take the step Nathaniel takes? Are you ready to ascend the Stairway to Heaven?