"We are like dwarfs..."
so that we can see more than they
and things more remote,
not by our own sharp sight or physical excellence,
but because we are carried high
and raised up by their giant size."
Nos esse quasi nanos gigantium humeris insidentes, ut possimus plura eis et remotiora videre, non utique proprii visus acumine aut eminentia corporis, sed quia in altum subvehimur et extollimur magnitudine gigantea
The man who wrote these words taught at a Cathedral school in France. Sadly, he lived to see that Cathedral burned to the ground but never to see it rebuilt.
When it was rebuilt, less than a hundred years after his death, the Cathedral of Chartres would be an architectural gem acclaimed for centuries.
By that time, he himself had already been immortalized by the scholars who had come after him and who rode on his shoulders.
This quote by Bernard of Chartres in turn echoes the words of St. Paul in today’s first reading (Ephesians 2:19-22):
You are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Indeed, we ride on the shoulders of giants, but they in turn rode on the shoulders of others... and ultimately we all rely on Christ.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
We are sometimes intimidated by the world around us, by the tasks ahead of us, and by the example of those great people who went before us.
But we not only ride on the shoulders of giants, as the body of Christ, by the power of his spirit, we ARE the giant.
We need not be intimidated;
we need only to be faithful
and do the work of giants
in the name of Jesus.