A church should help put us in an appropriate mental state of mind, helping up to overcome our worries that anguish us, and helps us fell the presence of God.
A visit to a Church might be motivated by curiosity. Maybe we want to see some beautiful fresco or sculpture. Or admire the architecture. Or to learn more about art. Or because we are concerned for our own health or wellbeing, or that of one of our love ones and we are so desperate that we will even try to see if prayer can help improve the situation.
The mental or spiritual state of a believer and of a nonbeliever may be different when they both come inside a church.
Some of you may go to a gym or a place of exercise. It is evident that many people that go to gyms have slim and athletic bodies, while others do not. Just going to a Church may not change our lives completely, but it might prove to be a great step in the right way of something new and wonderful in our lives.
As practicing Catholics, Estela and I receive a great deal from our visits to Churches. We pray for our marriage, for our children, for our son and daughters-in-law, and grandchildren, for our brothers and sisters. For our priests and the Church.
We visit Churches, Monasteries, Cathedrals and Convents, so as to learn more about the History of the Catholic Church. What we discover many times is not only edifying, it is positively scandalous. For us, it is like a warning sign Beware. Learn.
We sometimes come inside a Church to receive one of the Sacraments. We might go to Mass and receive the Eucharist or attend a Baptism, usually that of a small infant. Sometimes we come to Church and see how older children receive their First Holy Communion or their Confirmation. Many times we go to Church to receive the Sacrament of Confession.
For those of us that believe in the Sacrament of Confession, it is a difficult but potentially very beautiful experience. I believe it is a sacrament that is easily misunderstood, and even when understood and believed in, very difficult.
Estela and I like to visit Churches and discover the history of the Lives of the Saints. In Mass, we like to come into contact with the Bible, both the Old and New Testament. Sometimes we enjoy just saying an Our Father prayer or a Mystery of the Holy Rosary.
One thing is clear to us. If our lives are not in sync with what we say or what we supposedly profess as our religion, all our prayers and all our pilgrimages can do very little to help us. We must be coherent, and this is a very challenging task. On the other hand, the fact that I am not as good a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ doesn't keep me away from Church. Quite the contrary. That for me would be as silly as not going back to my gym, because I put on some extra weight.
The name of this blog is Road of Faith and Art. So far, I have spoken almost entirely about Faith. Art, specifically religious Art, or what I call Arte Sacro in Spanish is a wonder human experience. To appreciate Holy Art doesn't imply that we believe in the subject matter of the work of art.
When we think about Arte Sacro or Holy Art, what immediately comes to mind are paintings and statues. One important form of Arte Sacro is music. Polyphonic. Gregorian chant. Modern. Gospel. Contemporary. It is a beautiful experience, and something we can take home with us.
Hope that these notes help give you some ideas on what might help embellish your next visit to a Church.