In his beautiful letter to the Ephesians, Paul compared Christianity to a church building. In the building the Apostles and Prophets are the foundation stones. The successive generations of Christians like us are the rising lines of the stone walls, and Jesus is the capstone.
A capstone is, of course, the top stone of an arch that locks the two walls in place. In Gothic structures, the capstone holds in place the succession of aches that make up the walls.
St. Paul compares the role of the Apostles and Prophets in Christianity to the church building’s
foundation stones. Just as the rows of stones in the wall can only hold their place if they rest in straight alignment with their foundation, so we can only be Christians if our message coincides with that of the Apostles and Prophets.
Two French priests, Congar and de Lubac, were leading Theologians of Vatican II, and they worked at formulating modern expressions for our Christian beliefs. In doing that, their concern always was that their formulas should be in direct accord with the teachings at the time of the Apostles. For expressing that concern they coined the French word Resourcement, meaning “being true to the sources.”
In my Korean parish there was a near-completely bombed-out Buddhist temple. Arriving there in 1954, I helped out in making signs in English for them, and I witnessed much of the rebuilding of that temple. I was particularly fascinated by the reconstruction of the stone arch at the entrance.
The workmen began by building a clay dome the shape and size of the future arch. Then they brought in prepared stones that were two feet long, and cut to ten inches on the inside, and twelve on the outside.
They stacked those stone wedges up both sides of the archway-shaped mound. Then, when the sides were a little over two feet sort of meeting, they brought in the cut capstone, locking it into place at the top.
After that they cleared away the clay mound from under a stone arch that will stand for thousands of years if we don’t have a succession of wars.