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Writing about Cathedrals is difficult for me because there is so much to say! Where do I start? How detailed do I become? What are the significant facts that I need to convey? One could write for days about some of these cathedrals and not do them justice. So, I’m going to something really radical here (for me that is), I’m not going to cite any facts or figures. I’ll let you decide if you need to know more about the history of this cathedral and show you where you can get more information. What I will talk about are the feelings I experience when walking or sitting in a cathedral.
One feeling is awe at the beauty that surrounds me. My thoughts immediately go to thinking of the faith of the artisans that worked on the construction of the building and all of the art, both inside and outside. I imagine that their faith in God must of been immense in order for them to have produced such beauty. How does our faith today compare with theirs? Is it even fair to ask this question because of the vastly different times that we live in?
Some people when they see all of this beauty and opulence are repelled because they think of how these riches could be used to feed the poor. I, on the other hand take a different view. If God is truly omnipotent why not then honor God with some of the most beautiful buildings and artwork ever produced by man? I’m becoming very philosophical here but being in a cathedral makes me so and I think this is a good thing.
In addition my feeling of awe I also derive great comfort from a cathedral. The comfort comes from a feeling of shared faith with our ancestors. This continuity of community over the millennia is special and the cathedral for me epitomizes the continuity of our community of faith. Speaking of faith I cannot help but feel inadequate in my faith when seeing the beauty that the faith of others has given to us. I don’t think I’m alone in this or that this is a necessarily bad feeling to have. Having places that bring up all these feelings, emotions and questions about oneself I believe is a blessing and one that modern society does not value. This makes me feel truly privileged when I’m sitting silently soaking up the beauty and faith all around me.