Today, is the feast of the Dedication of Church of St. John Lateran in Rome. It seems to me you can see much of the history of the Roman Catholic Church here in this building, one of the great pilgrim churches of Rome.I wrote about this ancient 4th century church, the “mother of all churches” elsewhere.
In a homily for this feast, St. Caesarius of Arles says that this church, like all churches, reminds us we’re temples of God. “And if we think more carefully about the meaning of our salvation, we shall realize that we are indeed living and true temples of God. God does not dwell only in things made by human hands, nor in homes of wood and stone, but rather he dwells principally in the soul made according to his own image and fashioned by his own hand. Therefore, the apostle Paul says: The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.”
The ancient baptistery at the Lateran church, pictured above, is an entrance to this church. Through baptism we belong to the great church whose Lord, Jesus Christ, shares his life with us.
The beauty of a church reminds us of the beauty of our souls, Caesarius says: “Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be… Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts.”