Father Cassilly elaborates further on the distinction between God’s temple on Mount Zion and human souls, which are His living temples. He writes: “The temple was a holy place, for it was dedicated to the service of God. It belonged to Him, and was sanctified by His presence. On the dedication day of Solomon’s temple the priests could not enter it, ‘because the majesty of the Lord had filled it.’ ‘I have sanctified this house, which thou hast built, to put My name there forever, and My eyes and heart shall be there always’ (1 Kgs 9:3), was God’s own promise to Solomon. . . . We recall how Christ, indignant with the money-changers and traffickers in the temple, drove them out with knotted cords, and upset their tables, because they had changed the temple from a house of prayer to a den of thieves.”
“Not less holy is the Christian soul in which God dwells, or rather more sacred is the soul, for, while temples have only extrinsic holiness in so far as they are reserved for the service of God, the soul is intrinsically, formally holy, possessing moral goodness, participating in the Divine nature, beautified and sanctified by living grace of which no material building is capable.”
“St. Paul argues that as our members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, it must follow that we belong no longer to ourselves but to Him. He who buys anything becomes its owner. Now we have been bought, purchased at a great price, the blood of Christ, and so we are His property. God has sanctified us and made us his dwelling, and woe to him who violates this sanctuary and retreat, who desecrates his own soul, for such a one is guilty of rapine, he robs the Deity of His home.”
“A temple is essentially but an enclosed altar. . . . The living temple of God in the soul also has its altar of sacrifice. . . . Our own will must be offered as a sweet-smelling holocaust. How dear to the natural man it is to follow his own vagaries, to idle or labor, do or undo, choose or leave, as whim or fancy moves, without sense of responsibility or care. But the supernatural man must restrain will and fancy, make them an oblation upon the altar of self-conquest. To subdue, regulate and conquer natural inclination, and make our own will entirely subservient to God’s, is pretty much the whole of the spiritual life.”
Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).