My wife and I spent the weekend in Louisville, KY. On Sunday, we went to mass at the Dominican parish, St. Louis Bertrand. It is a beautiful, Gothic-style church with amazing woodwork in the sanctuary. The parish website has some pictures of the church. I have posted one of those pictures above, although it does not do the sanctuary justice. St. Louis Bertrand Church made me think about how the surroudings of our worship matter. I like both modern and past architectural styles. God did not ordain Gothic architecture as the truest expression of faith in form, although it is certainly an important one. What matters in our worship spaces are at least the following aspects: 1) does the building express important truths of our faith (transcendence and immanence, for example), 2) is beauty used to reflect and glorify God, and 3) does the physical building help us to worship and grow closer to God. Sometimes going to different parishes helps us to pay more attention to how the building helps us to build up our faith and increase our fervor for God. The building matters. However, in the most beautiful parish church, cathedral, or basilica, the beauty of that space is but a dim reflection of the center of that church, of the Church, Jesus in the Eucharist residing in the tabernacle.
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