City on a Hill

Johannes Vermeer 1654 – Mary of Bethany

Then he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And there the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters, and the earth shone with his glory.  The vision I saw was like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city and like the vision that I had seen by the River Chebar, and I fell upon my face.  As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me out of the temple. He said to me: “Mortal, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet, where I will reside among the people of Israel forever. The house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they nor their kings, by their prostitution and by sacrificing to their kings at their death.Ezekiel 43:1-7

The name Israel has been translated with several meanings, the most agreed upon of which is, “wrestles with God,” but also, “he turns the head of God,” or “He retains God.”

The name Jerusalem means, “foundation of peace,” or, “in awe of peace.”

It is worth noting that a city built on a hill, like Jerusalem, (7 hills actually, which denotes the Foundation of God’s word) would have a wider more broad view of what is going on, and therefore would garner more protection because one could see what is coming.

Each one of us baptized has been, “chosen,” that is, called by God to His Kingdom.  We are like Israel in this life.  We wrestle with God and all we don’t understand.  This wrestling, or staying in the relationship, if you will, means that God is with us, we retain God.  We keep engaging in the relationship even in the midst of all we don’t understand and despite our limitations and sin.  We choose to repent when we sin, we believe in the truth, that God is good, and He has a bigger plan.  He sees more than we do. Israel does not walk away from God, it is a constant struggle to remain in relationship and to let go and trust in His promises.

Eventually, as Ezekiel says (43:1-7) the Glory of the Lord comes upon the temple.  The spirit lifts up.

Keeping in mind the name Jerusalem, where the temple mount is, means, “foundation of peace,” and is set on a hill, a prophetic view, so to speak, we can know that Israel and Jerusalem are not just places, not just land.  (Matthew 5:14). This is a place for the feet of God (Ezekiel 43:7) who walks with and dwells in the person.

The city on a hill, the “foundation of peace”, is then, therefore, a person built on the indwelling of God.  One who is lifted by the Spirit in the Glory of God.  The one who received this gift to the full is the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Perhaps it is why she often appears on mountaintops. And it is why too, she crushes the head of the serpent under her feet, because she is a dwelling place of God.

She is the new Jerusalem.  She is the foundation where the Word became Flesh, built solely on God’s word.  She is a temple where the Glory of the Lord came upon her.  God’s word spoke her.  A gift, for her, that was outside of time.  A gift, for her, that extended beyond reconciliation to restoration.  And so, for her, the Glory of the Lord, Immaculately conceived her.  She is the Glory of Eden restored.

Her love for God, so great, that the grace flows through her to God’s creation. 

As Mother of the Church, and through her intercession, which is a cooperation in redemption, the Church herself, becomes the New Jerusalem, with each baptized member having the capability of meriting the Glory of the Lord through participation in the church and her sacraments and tradition. The Church as the New Jerusalem is a place that must honor Mary as the crowning gift of God for us. She is Co-Redemptrix because she freely chose God and never fell, thereby securing her place of honor, through her humility, in the City of God and as a City of God.

Each one of us must wrestle with God to be elevated to a higher view. That is to say, we must, through prayer, be striving to see what we don’t see, and be docile enough to receive what the Lord wants to show us. It is why, we must, in humility, sit at the feet of Jesus, like Mary of Bethany, who chose the better part (Luke 10:39).

Did you ever think the washing of Jesus’s feet by the Apostles is symbolic that our service of the Kingdom enables stomping on the head of the serpent. Like by serving we wash ours and others sins away through Christs power?
It’s significant that it’s his feet, more than just the physical dirt. It’s a reparation. If Peter doesn’t wash his feet he can’t participate in the Kingdom (John 13:8). Our participation is needed for the works of the devil to be destroyed. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles is thought to be the one who washed his feet with her tears, but went even further, anointing them with perfume (Luke 7:38). She is the first to witness the Resurrection. Her humility in service makes her one of the highest of the Saints. No doubt her time with Jesus and His Mother shaped her docility to God and His plan.

We must be humble enough to be elevated higher to a view that is without perversion. It is a view that can see perversion coming to attack, but is fortified with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). A people who call upon the heavenly Father with full faith and trust, and who ask for the Queen to intercede, so the Glory of the Lord can come upon each soul who does so. Then the God of peace can crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20).

That soul, now with the Spirit fully dwelling within is lifted higher to a peace that surpasses understanding.  They persevere no matter what comes upon the hill.  They seek no places of honor at banquets or churches, they seek no greeting in marketplaces, or titles of importance.  Instead the dwell in the Glory of the Lord, that is to say, the seat of humility, which begets true charity.  They know the Father because they are in union with the will of the Father.  They are a City on a Hill, shining the Glory of the Lord, in the darkness of society. 

People may call you a devil or call you crazy for seeing what they don’t see. They will exclude and calumniate you. This is where you rest at the feet of Jesus and let His grace and the Holy Spirit, lift you. There is no room for rage and resentment in this city. Be at peace, pray for fortitude, and you will persevere, not because of your will power, but because of God, and His Mother who constantly prays for you.

About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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1 Response to City on a Hill

  1. tunaonfriday says:

    Yes and thank you.

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