It’s hard to pray with your eyes closed in Paris. Every church I set foot in egged me on to open my eyes and take in all its beauty. From the light, heavenly colors at la Chapelle de la Médaille Miraculeuse to the grandness of Notre Dame and Sacré CÅ“ur, I found that I did a fair bit more gawking than praying.
At one point I was really frustrated with myself over this new distraction, and I offered it up in prayer. As I reflected, I began to think about the many workers who put their time and talent into these beautiful houses of God:
- the architects and builders who outdid themselves to build the biggest, grandest churches, competing for such honors as the tallest building in the world or the greatest dome;
- the artists whose paintings adorn the walls of churches big and small, their brushstrokes creating scenes that bring visitors right into the moments they depict;
- the sculptors and stoneworkers whose hands carefully brought to life saints and royals for us all to appreciate.
For many of these people, this was their life’s work. Their pride, their reputation, their delight came from the work they offered up in these amazing churches. Each one contributed their talents for the greater glory of God. What better example of the magis could there be?
Imagine what a beautiful world this would be if we all treated our lives like the many workers in those beautiful old churches. Imagine a world where everyone built his or her life and all within it, led by the single, solitary goal of giving God the greatest glory. Then every decision I make is like a stone placed to build a glorious church to praise and give reverence to God. Every act of compassion I make is like a painting bringing us right into a moment in the life of Jesus. And my work in forming my child to know and love God is a sculpture that will remain standing in faith long after I’m gone.
If we could only live our lives always with this in our sights and on our minds, the world might look very different. It would be a world not of distractions but of endless examples of the glory of God in all things.
As one who has been to Paris and visited all three mentioned , your writings brought me back to those sacred spaces in all of their unique beauty.
It was at Notre Dame that I was struck by the light filtering through the stained glass and the mystery of ‘something more’. When I read your reflection the memory came flooding back. You stated it so beautifully – all for the glory of God! Then, finding the One in all things…..Thank you.