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Catholicism Archives - St. Stephen's University

Worldview: Old vs New

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

For some reason, after constant times of reflection, note taking, and journaling over these past two and a half weeks, I am having a difficult time trying to focus on a few specific moments during this time of travel.  It has been overwhelming to encounter such artistically and historically rich cities and countries in a very short amount of time, and I have recently realized how difficult it is to process it all at once.

However, one aspect of this journey that has connected with me in a strong way, a way that I did not expect,  was the peace and rest I found as I entered a few of the cathedrals we have visited.  The Basilica at Montserrat outside of Barcelona and the Santa Maria Della Vittoria in Rome were a few important moments for me.
I had a very spiritual time while visiting Montserrat, even though the Basilica was crowded with tourists, worshippers, and flashing cameras.  For the most part I was stuck at the very back, trying to peek at what I could of the service.  I finally got a little further up as the choir boys were singing, and I tried to imagine that I wasn’t amongst the crowds as I closed my eyes and listened to the haunting voices.

Later, after the service had ended, the crowd had left and just the organ was playing, I walked in and sat in a pew near the altar.  I tried to put aside my own worldview in order to understand the amazing piece of architecture in its purest form, fully created to express love for God.  I became frustrated with my own watered down faith, that often becomes bogged down with relativity and leaves out a force or purpose.  I believe our contemporary churches have struggled to be too strong because of their fear to offends or disrupts others

Sitting there allowed me to understand sixteenth century Catholicism in a new light, but more importantly, placed my North American Christian life in perspective with the beautiful story of architecture , art and faith from so many centuries ago.

Ariel Smith