St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Symbolism in the Church #7

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At first glance, we can see that the high altar is a great castle. It symbolizes the great castle that the Father in Heaven has made a room for us to live in when it comes to the last days of our pilgrimage of life. It is a place where we find rest and all that is right and holy. Judging by this castle, it is a place where our Heavenly Father has quite the spread prepared for us. I wonder how much chocolate there will be?

As we look deeper, we can also notice a throne in the reredos with the high altar. This throne is also majestic and also larger than life! No mere king has had such a majestic throne; it is only fit for our God! No other could fill this seat of authority. It is fit for the all-powerful, the all-mighty one who not only governs us all, but loves us all. That same almighty one is the one who came down to us in human form. The one who has dominion to judge and cast to wherever He desires, desires us to be with Him! This is so true, that He gave us the Blessed Sacrament to be with us, never to leave us. May we never leave Him!
Jesus rightfully takes His place in our church on His throne. This throne is not a throne of some distant person. We are children of the Great King. We have received the majesty that is His by nature. When we come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament, He raises us up to His heart, as He is on that throne. We find ourselves where He is, on the throne. Our dignity has been raised to a height that no human could obtain; it is freely given. No matter how low we feel, this dignity can never be taken from us. Even when we have done wrong and are suffering the consequences, the Father still loves us and calls us back. Just because we choose to no longer sit in His lap, our dignity and value in His eyes have not diminished.
This seat comes from the Old Testament in what we know as the “Seat of Moses.” It was the high priest that occupied the Seat of Moses. Moses and those who legitimately sat on it carried an authority to help guide God’s people. This is why Jesus makes His suggestion to follow the leaders of the faith, even when they are not being good examples (Mt23:2-3). Jesus is the new High Priest who sits on His throne forever (Rev 4:2 & 3). He is the one who has ultimate authority, but He has appointed men to have authority in guiding God’s people (v4). This authority is real, as it has been delegated by Jesus (Mt 16:18 & 19). Yet humans will always be there. It is up to us to choose God’s will or not, to be on the Father’s lap or not.
Around the throne, in the book of Revelation Chapter 4, is the worship from all present. The four creatures are the four Gospels in verses 6-8. The reading of Sacred Scripture is a necessary part of our worship. Like at the Mass, after the gospels all cried out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is and who is to come” (v8). This is exactly what we do before the consecration of the Blessed Sacrament. Right after we say these words, we kneel before His majesty and worship Him on His throne, right there! He truly is in His rightful place to be worshipped. We get to participate in what heaven does by John’s account! How good it is to be here Lord! (Mt 17:4).

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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