Theotokos & Litany of Loretto One Illumines the Other VI

XIII. House of gold

In the ancient world, as today, gold was symbolic of “worth”, representing a thing whose value cannot be superseded. It epitomized the idea of the precious and was found in temples and the homes of the wealthy. As with some of the other more intriguing titles from Our Lady’s Litany, “House of Gold” finds its genesis in the Old Testament, in the description of the magnificent Temple built to the Lord by King Solomon, and completed sometime around the year 953 B.C.:

And he made the oracle in the midst of the house, in the inner part, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Now the oracle was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height. And he covered it and overlaid it with most pure gold. And the altar also he covered with cedar. And the house before the oracle he overlaid with most pure gold and fastened on the plates with nails of gold. And there was nothing in the temple that was not covered with gold: the whole altar of the oracle he covered also with gold. And he made in the oracle two cherubims of olive tree, of ten cubits in height . . . And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. And the floor of the house he also overlaid with gold within and without. And in the entrance of the oracle, he made little doors of olive tree, and posts of five corners . . . And two doors of olive tree: and he carved upon them figures of cherubims, and figures of palm trees, and carvings very much projecting; and he overlaid them with gold: and he covered both the cherubims and the palm trees, and the other things, with gold. [3 Kgs. 6]

Why was there such an abundance of gold used in the construction of this Temple? Solomon himself gave us the answer: “I purpose to build a temple to the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my Father, saying: ‘Thy son, whom I will set upon the throne, in thy place, he shall build a house to My name.’ ”
[3 Kgs. 5: 5]

Solomon’s Temple was built in such a manner for the same reason that Catholic Churches were at one time designed to be places of beauty, where silence, shadow and art combined to call the mind of the faithful away from the mundane world for a time, the better to speak—–and listen—–to God. In short, they were built as earthly dwellings for the Almighty.

Lack understanding, discernment of what God is asking. Solomon thinks its is his job to build the Temple. Our Lady true dwelling, our house is made for our Lord, flesh and blood.

Our Lord took body from Our Lady the Temple never removed unlike the removal of Solomon’s Temple.

When the Temple of Solomon was finally dedicated, it was a day of rejoicing:

And all Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon, on the festival day, in the month of Ethanim, the same is the seventh month. And all the ancients of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark, and carried the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the covenant, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, that were in the tabernacle: and the priests and the Levites carried them. And King Solomon, and all the multitude of Israel, that were assembled unto him, went with him before the ark, and they sacrificed sheep and oxen, that could not be counted or numbered. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord into its place, into the oracle of the temple, into the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubims. [3 Kgs. 8: 2-6]

It was only then, after the Temple had been carefully designed and built from the finest materials available—–a veritable “House of Gold”—–after all these necessary preparations had been made and the Ark of the Covenant resided within its walls, that God Himself came to dwell in this house:

Image of what to come. Not sufficient put a sign. Ark of the Covenant one of her titles as she carried her Lord within her womb. The items in the ark of the covenant are prefiguration of Christ.

And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the sanctuary, that a cloud filled the house of the Lord, and the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. Then Solomon said: The Lord said that He would dwell in a cloud. Building, I have built a house for Thy dwelling, to be Thy most firm throne forever. [3 Kgs. 8: 10-13]

Consider the Blessed Virgin as a “temple” which was prepared to receive the Living God, the same God Who filled the house of the Lord in the time of King Solomon. She, too, was “designed” to honor her Lord, to be a fit dwelling for the Eternal Godhead. The original Temple was overlaid with gold everywhere. Gold is symbolic of purity; it is a metal that is refined. To refine something is to free it from impurities, to perfect it, to remove from it anything that is vulgar or coarse. Through the privilege of the Immaculate Conception, the first fruits of Our Lord’s Sacrifice on Calvary, Mary was kept free from the stain of Original Sin, “refined” in the most sublime way imaginable, for she was not cleansed from the impurity of Original Sin, but was actually preserved from contracting any such stain on her perfect soul. Thus, she became a worthy dwelling for the Eternal Wisdom. “It was becoming,” wrote St. Bonaventure [+ 1274], “that the Blessed Virgin Mary, by whom our shame was to be blotted out, and by whom the devil was to be conquered, should never, even for a moment, have been under his dominion.”

If an inanimate substance—–refined gold—–can symbolize something precious and perfect, than how much more precious is the Woman, blessed among all women, who would be asked to give her consent to the Divine Maternity, after which she would carry the Living God in her womb for nine months, clothing the Word of God in her own flesh? Truly, the grand Temple built by Solomon, even in its scope and majesty, was but a pale foreshadowing of Mary, the true House of Gold: “You, O Mary, have been made the holy one, and more glorious, more pure, and more saintly than all the rest of humankind, having a mind whiter than snow, and your soul more purified than the finest gold” [St. Gregory Thaumatur + c.270].[1]

Human nature called to carry God within. Shekinah filled smoke of his presence, no man could endure to be there. What is demanded to have God from within. Power of God within Blessed Mother. Who could endure such an event?

Without preserved from original sin could endure?

Profundity of our Lady & Christ there is no end point in reflecting. Reflecting way Our Lord presented commandments.

Honor mother & father before Our Lady conceived in time. But He too would be subject to this Commandment. Called to be like Christ in all things, same way Christ honored her. Embodiment of humility. My soul magnifies the Lord. Generations will call me blessed. Not arrogance or malice. First and greatest disciple of Our Lord.

[1] http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/house-gold.htm   accessed Dec 6, 2021