Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Cares about the Dedication of the Cathedral??

Last night, after looking at a calendar, I realized that today is a feast day for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis because it is the anniversary of the dedication of our Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. A few weeks ago, I posted here about how some days are elevated depending on where you live.

Anyway, as I started thinking about today, it seemed a bit forced that I would celebrate the dedication of a Church building downtown. Isn't that almost like cheating for a reason to celebrate.

(Starbucks drive thru person: "Can I help you"
Me: "yes, I'd like a coffee please. It's the anniversary of the dedication of our Catholic cathedral downtown.")

As I prayed about it this morning, I came to a couple of realizations I'd like to share.

I've written often on here about how easy it is to conceive of things as "Spiritual or Earthly" - the tendency we have as human beings to put things on one side of the divide or the other. Nancy Pelosi gives nice voice to that tendency here. We may not go to the extremes that Mrs. Pelosi did, but we often get a lot closer to such an extreme than we would like to admit.

The Church and Jesus stand in the breach yanking the spiritual and the earthly together, not allowing people to get away with their attempts to sift through reality and decide what is "spiritual" and what is "earthly." The Eucharist is BOTH spiritual and earthly, Jesus is both spiritual and earthly, WE as human beings are both spiritual and earthly...and the Eucharist (all sacraments), the Church, Jesus, human beings etc. are BOTH spiritual and earthly IN A WAY THAT CAN NOT BE PULLED APART - I can never say "that's the historical earthly Jesus comments there...and those are the things that the transcendental spiritual Jesus said there." I can't say "that's the earthly church talking or acting there...and over here we have the spiritual church at work." No separating the wheat from the chaff until the end of time.

So celebrating the anniversary of a Church downtown is a good exercise because it, perhaps more than anything else in our Church's calendar, forces us to remember that the building is not JUST an earthly collection of brick and mortar, it is a place where God has CHOSEN to mix realities that, thankfully, despite our attempts to do so, can not be unmixed in this lifetime.


  1. excellent reflection on the incarnational aspect of our faith. this feast also serves as a reminder of the gift that our Cathedral is to our diocese, not so much as a functional building as a sign of unity throughout the diocese, much like the feast of the chair of st. peter is not so much about a piece of (albeit really cool) furniture, but about the great gift that the office of the papacy is for the church and which serves as a sign of unity for the universal church.