God chose Sion for his abode and his dwelling-place. But Sion came to be destroyed.

Where, then, is now the everlasting throne of the Lord, where his eternal resting-place, where the Temple in which he can reside?

You, says the Apostle, are the Temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells within you.

This is the house and this the Temple of God, filled with divine knowledge and virtue, made fit for God’s indwelling by holiness of heart; to which the prophet bore witness: Holy is your Temple, wonderful in justice.

It is the holiness, the justice, the purity of man that is a Temple for the Lord.

This Temple must be built by God. Raised by man’s en­deavour, it will never last; founded on worldly wisdom, it will never hold together; kept by our foolish exertions and care, it will never be preserved.

On no shifting sand is it to be founded, but set firm on the foundation of the prophets and the Apostles; with living stones must it take shape, held fast by the Corner-Stone.

With its materials securely joined together it must grow unto the perfect man, unto the stature of the body of Christ, and its adorning must lie in the beauty and splendour of spiritual gifts.

Israel is now in captivity, but when the full host of Gentiles is come then it will pursue the building of this house.

By the multifarious labours of the faithful it will grow into as many houses, will become a great and beautiful city.

For long now, has the Lord kept faithful watch over his city: guarding Abra­ham on his pilgrimage, preserving Isaac from immolation, re­warding Jacob for his years of service, giving power to Joseph. a slave in Egypt.

He strengthens Moses in his conflict with Pharaoh, makes Joshua a leader in battle, rescues David from every danger, confers on Solomon the gift of wisdom.

He is there among his prophets, taking up Elijah, choosing Elisha, feeding Daniel, bringing refreshment to the children in the fiery furnace.

Joseph he tells by an angel of his virgin birth, Mary he reassures, John he sends before him.

He chooses the Apostles and prays to his Father: Holy Father, keep them safe … while I was with them I kept them in thy name.

And after his passion he promises that he himself will have an everlasting care of us: Behold, I am with you always, even until the end of the world.

Such is the everlasting protection of this blessed and holy city which, made up of many come together in one, and found in each one of us, forms indeed the city of God.

Hilary of Poitiers (c.300-368): Treatise on Psalm 126, 7-9; from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time Year 1.

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