What is a building made of? Think about it. What sustains it? What holds it firm? What makes it functional? The rocks underneath? The walls? The columns and the beams in between? The wires and the pipes running inside?
The Christian imagination of what a building is, do not focus on the materials, the time of construction or the monetary cost. For us, Catholics, a building gets its value from the community and its relationship with God. A place where a community finds refuge, love, and the opportunity to expand their knowledge and creativity, is sacred because those things please God; those things are important to God.
In the book of Isaiah God says: “See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, a precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; whoever puts faith in it will not waver.” (28:16) This cornerstone is God’s love, God’s heart. That is why we insist that the Church is not its buildings but us, the community, united by the love of God.
For us, Carmelites, a building is as solid as its community, as beautiful and functional as the service we offer to others, and as meaningful as the prayers that take place in it. Carmelite buildings are made for community, service, and prayer.
In a year, more or less, and after 9 million dollars, we will be able to see and work in a brand new building that will enliven the talents of our students through fine and performing arts. Beauty will give identity to this place! We will have a place where the Holy Spirit will literally come forth through our young and their imagination. You are giving them the opportunity to give a body to the Holy Spirit, a body of shapes, images, colors, sounds, and moves...
I want you to keep in mind that this place will be much more than 9 million dollars and a year and a half of construction work; this place will stand firm on the lives and the stories of those who have come before us, since 1950, and will be embellished with the stories of future generations. How long? Who knows, the Carmelites have been around for 800 years.
How much does it really cost? How long will it serve the community? We do not know, but what we know is that its value has been already established by God. We are standing on sacred ground. We are making history as we put together the bricks of our past, our present and our future firmly held by the most beautiful cornerstone: God’s heart.