Cathedral

 

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Whether someone  chooses to worship the teachings of Jean Paul Sartre or is convinced that the risen savior is embodied in the plasticine statue in front of Bob’s Big Boy, I cast no aspersions. I may be amused but I would never condescend.

The ever widening diversity of faiths in the world make it clear how prevalent is our hunger to believe. Whether we invest ourselves in an inner power, a higher power, or a philosophy of benevolence, I cannot hold criticism for anyone with a sincere and loving heart who wishes to reach out in their own way to the universe.

The lotus position in the solitude of a wooded glade may be the ideal for some, while others require the tradition and ritual of a large assembly, and still others find their best comfort in the company of a close friend or good book. For many it is the place in which they choose to practice their beliefs that defines the expression of their faith.

The fine lines and foundations of architecture have always held a place of reverence for me, whether it was a mosque, a temple, or the New York Stock Exchange. I am frankly staggered by the imaginative designs of artists and engineers who have given us the likes of the cathedrals at Chartres and Notre Dame. There can be real majesty in a hallowed place of worship, although some buildings make it difficult to discern whether the design sprang from hubris or from humility.

The circumstances and environment help, of that I am certain, but it is worth asking ourselves, “Did I come to this place for its facade or for my faith?” In the end, divinity is something an individual must define for himself.

In the grand manner of ancient monuments to faith where centuries of wounded souls have sought solace, asked forgiveness, and sent their prayers aloft like embers, even a small community church or the quiet corner of a garden can be your cathedral.

It is not the edifice that matters. It is our willingness to be small.

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5 thoughts on “Cathedral

  1. I agree that the place one worships is individual. These are subjective. We look for places that stir in us serenity, reverence, awe. I really like the way you expressed your concluding thought, “it is our willingness to be small.” In that thought is the idea that there is something larger than ourselves, something, or rather someone, to whom we offer our worship. That may be a matter of one’s subjective choice as well.

    However, if there is an objective truth, and I believe there is based on the physical and philosophical evidence, then not all worship is the same. I like the metaphor, “When you need medicine, ice cream won’t due.” In other words, no matter how good the ice cream may make you feel, ice cream won’t cure cancer. And no matter how good your religion makes you feel, the wrong one won’t deal with man’s deepest needs. One shouldn’t settle for the religion that makes one feel good. One should seek and find the truth.

    The place we worship may be integral to the expression of our faith. However, who we worship is really what is critical.

    As always, you express yourself beautifully. Maria

  2. This has been my belief ever since I can remember, but I’ve never found a way to express it as eloquently as you have: “It is not the edifice that matters. It is our willingness to be small.”

  3. It always impresses me that these master masons…with little tools…Starting building such majestic beauties knowing they’d never live long enough to see the end of the build, such was the case for many.
    Regardless of the religion…places of worship always feel serene to me.
    Ken Follett wrote Pillars of the Earth and World without End, that centres around a mason’s life…I’d never have thought a book, about building a Cathedral, could ever be so good.
    Nice Post, an unusual ‘C’. Bravo!
    Enjoying the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

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