Becoming the cathedral God created you to be begins with a solid foundation. By combining stretching and strengthening exercises with Christian prayer and mediation, Pietra Fitness workouts enrich your body, mind, and soul so you can glorify God with your entire being.
A temple is a place of worship, a house of prayer. Christian temples are "churches", and the most magnificent ones—the ones that house the seat of a diocesan bishop—are known as cathedrals.
Historically, a cathedral was placed in a central location in a city and built to amazing heights, making it visible from anywhere in town. The cathedral served as a visual reminder for the community of the physical presence of Christ inside in the tabernacle. It also inspired awareness of spiritual realities.
A well-built cathedral is structurally sound and attractive in form, but it also has a sacred function. It houses the Holy Eucharist and is meant to be filled with adoration, prayer, and worship.
A cathedral is a hallowed place of union between God and man. Much like the cathedrals of stone and marble, you have been created to glorify God with your whole person—reaching toward heaven and testifying to spiritual truths.
“God created mankind in his image . . .”—Genesis 1:27
Since man was created in the image and likeness of God, it makes sense to say that the human person is—or at least was created to be—magnificent.
In fact, upon contemplating the presence of the Three Divine Persons in her soul, St. Teresa of Avila said she was “amazed at seeing so much majesty in a thing as lowly as my soul.”¹ Then Our Lord filled her heart with consolation and said, “It is not lowly, my daughter, because it is made in my own image.”² Yes, you are wonderfully made.³
In fact, as a Catholic, you are a living cathedral with Our Lord enthroned in your heart.
It is God, the ultimate architect, who designed the cathedral of you, masterfully blending both form and function. It is good to take care of your form—your body—and to attend to your physical health; however, your soul is more important than your body, and cultivating a rich interior life should take precedence over all other forms of personal care.
Inside your walls, there must be prayer, contemplation, and joy. You need the Eucharist, adoration, daily meditation, frequent reception of the sacraments, and communion with God. Without the presence of the Holy Eucharist and an active interior life, even the most magnificent cathedral would be reduced to merely a grand facade.
You are called to be much more than a facade. You are called to beauty and splendor in body and soul so that your entire person gives glory to God—as He intended from the beginning.
“We never lose hope as long as we realize that we are weak, full of defects, and dirt. Our Lord never leaves us; we just need to use the means and not reject the hand that He offers us.”⁴
Despite our original grandeur, many of our cathedrals have fallen into disrepair. Some of us need God’s grace to bear the crosses of aging, accidents, and illness that afflict our structure and diminish our physical strength.
Some of us are in desperate need of care due to our own persistent disordered choices and actions. Overindulgence, extreme schedules, convenience, and a lack of self-control are breaking our structures and ransacking our tabernacles. For many of us, repairs or renovations are sorely needed.
No matter how our structures have been compromised, we must continually repent and begin anew with God’s gift of grace—striving to be the beautiful, dignified, holy temples He created each of us to be.
“Rebuild my Church.” —God, to St. Francis of Assisi
A good caretaker is knowledgeable and adept, providing routine maintenance and repairing minor problems before they become big ones. As caretakers of our cathedrals, it is our responsibility to maintain our structures and our interior lives.
Everything we do—our sleeping and eating habits, choices of friends and entertainment, pursuing virtue or neglecting vice—has an impact on our cathedral, the people in our lives, and the Church at large. In each of your decisions, ask yourself:
Ask God for the grace and fortitude to maintain your physical structure with healthy habits and a balanced lifestyle. Also pray for the grace and fortitude to maintain your interior life with intellectual formation, Christian meditation, spiritual direction, the sacraments, and acts of mercy and love.
The work of a caretaker is constant and never easy, but continual repairs and adjustments are simpler and less costly than repairing the damage done by neglect. Just as St. Francis heard the command, “Rebuild my Church,” we are called to rebuild.
If each of us takes responsibility to care for our bodies and souls, then we will begin to slowly rebuild not only our own cathedrals but also the kingdom of God. Many cities in Europe have skylines dotted with hundreds of churches, their towers and spires reaching heavenward proclaiming, “This city belongs to God.”
As living cathedrals, we must stand together, pointing to heaven and reclaiming our community for God’s kingdom and His glory. Let us rebuild the City of God, beginning with the cathedral of you.