Today the question in this title occurred to me. I've been studying and meditating a lot on the extreme holiness of God. He is so holy that the priests of the Old Testament had to go through ritual purification before they could touch the poles that held the Ark that contained His Presence (which was not His full Incarnate presence, mind). Someone who touched the Ark simply to try and steady it was instantly killed.
To contain the symbols and Presence of the Lord, the Ark of the Covenant had to be covered with gold inside and out, symbolizing purity. The Tabernacle containing the Ark had to likewise be covered on the whole of its interior with purest gold. Then the Temple containing the Tabernacle had to be covered throughout the interior with purest gold -- and made, I might add, out of the finest wood.
When David conquered Jerusalem, he had all the disfigured and sick removed from the city (such exterior physical ailments symbolized sin in Old Testament typology) because the Presence of the Lord would dwell there. Ark, Tabernacle, Temple and City had to be purified. Only the High Priest could enter the Tabernacle, and he only at very rare times.
The Virgin Mary had to be perfectly immaculate from the very moment of her conception, utterly "Full of Grace," before she could receive the Incarnate Lord in her womb. She was so utterly consumed by grace that she was granted because of her virtue and faith a throne above all Heaven and Earth, a throne of highest splendor and power. She was and continues to be the greatest of all living Tabernacles of the Lord.
Then I think of Heaven, how to stand in the full presence of God we too must be utterly immaculate and so radically will we be affected by the sight of His Face that it is beyond all reckoning what fantastic splendor and joy we will receive.
I think also of those in Hell, how utterly unfathomable are their torments because they rejected God, and God's goodness is so deep and so mighty that rejecting the infinite goodness in life brings such ferocious justice down on the heads of men. Hell is a terrifying reflection of the holiness of God, for if God wasn't so good, rejecting Him wouldn't be so evil.
Creation sings of the glory and magnificence of God and all the evidence of our faith points to holiness beyond any measure or calculation, so far beyond us that to try to brush it would be for a speck of sand to place itself before the Milky Way and say, "Here I am."
And then I think about the Eucharist . . . The Eucharist, which is the Son of God Himself, come to me, to make me a living tabernacle of His glory like the Virgin Mary, a living, breathing human being receiving God Almighty into myself.
How can such things be? I know it is recommended we go to Confession and try to repent devoutly of all sins before receiving the Eucharist, and the priest prays with us before we receive, "I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." This is faith, but we are still stained with venial sin, are we not?
I know I have to trust that word that God gave, the word by which I am healed directly before I receive the Eucharist. But I don't understand that word. Mary had to be Immaculately Conceived, the Temple and Ark and all the rest had to be purest gold, the man before God in Heaven must be spotlessly sinless and transcendent in the glory of the Almighty . . . So how can I possibly receive the Son of God into my sinful body without burning to a cinder at once?
I know we must not receive the Eucharist in mortal sin, but it is allowed to receive Him while stained with venial sin. How can such things be?
I'm trying to understand.