Monday, September 01, 2008

To my recent commenters...

Wow...We just returned from a 2 day pilgrimage up to South Dakota, to a couple of Marian Shrines and a quick visit to Broomtree Retreat Center. We got home about 10:30 last night, and I've just now found that there were 8 comments on my blog~! The most I've ever seen at one time. Thank you TJ and Marie for your comments. Fatima Shrine.
House of Mary Shrine

Here's a wonderful thing to do, if you need a day or two to get away and find where the love for Mary is, where she's been in a special way, or where she's been venerated in a special way or place. I typed in Google search "Marian Shrines of the U. S." or something like that and you get a list of every state. Then click the state you want to go to and you'll see the shrines listed and their locations.

As you know, Rich and I like to get off the beaten path and visit these holy sites. Two weeks ago we went to Arapahoe NE. to visit Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, built by Fr. Henri Denis, a survivor of Dachau concentration camp. But to get to these shrines, we've found it really doesn't take all that long. It was about 5.5 hours to Arapahoe, and also to Alexandria S.D. Had we just driven straight through, only stopping for gas we could have made it shorter, but that's then not a pilgrimage, for a pilgrimage shouldn't be hurried or a "rushed" event.

We like to stop and visit the Lord along the way. He resides in some very beautiful churches off the highways in rural spots or small towns, so what could be a "quicker time" to a destination takes us longer due to our love of these gorgeous houses of worship built by our forefathers and mothers with their hard earned money, labor, blood, sweat and tears. They believed that God's house should be more glorious than their own in most of these towns and that's where their money went. It is sometimes sad to see now a days that we tend to put more into our own houses than our church. (most priests would LOVE to get 3 % from their congregations! Just think if they did, most kids could go to Catholic school for free! but I digress) Of course, back in the 1800's and early 1900's most people didn't have all the material goods, they had to work for their food, for their "daily bread" ...and life was "simpler" in many ways. It's sad to see how the affluence of our culture has had such a tragic effect on us, some more than others. That parable comes to life here, how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!!

The "sin" of capitalism is greed for material gain and sloth of spirit and it does exist in this country, that's been so abundantly blessed. There were many warnings given to us by different Popes, JPII and GK Chesterton to name a couple. The modern churches with their more sparse interiors, modern, less ornate architecture seems to have a part to play in how we see and "feel" even in our present parishes. So many are now built by Construction Companies and not the actual parishoners themselves, and of course that was bound to happen, yet it makes them more "impersonal" in some ways.

All I can say is that for me, the more sparse the sanctuary and the more "modern" it looks, the more easily my mind wanders, and I don't seen windows of the gospels shining in the sun, just bricks and the pipes in the left corner of our huge pipe organ. We do have Mary and St Gabriel to the right of the pulpit and directly behind the pulpit a life-size crucifix, which is powerful. Yes, our St Robert Bellarmine parish is lovely, and tastefully done, but when I go to a old gothic or Romanesque cathedral or basilica, I can't help but marvel at the beauty and my mind can't be distracted for too long, because there's always a Saint or a frescoe or a window with our Catholic faith expressed in artistic wonder that draws me "heavenward." The reverence is just "felt" more in these older churches, I've witnessed it. Even the older ones in town seem to have a more "holy" feel, or aura about and inside them.

I'll get some pics on the blog as soon as I can. This has been an intense time for me the last 4 weeks or so. I've been in some desolation at times, sorrowful, but not without a deep joy that continues to bolster me. This country needs to be drenched and bathed in prayer for our election and for the "little ones" in the womb. That is most grievous to my heart and I share that with Mary our Mother of all children, born and unborn. Thanks, Marie for your concern and your prayers for America! Bless you all...

And PEACE to you all,
susie

5 comments:

Owen said...

"All I can say is that for me, the more sparse the sanctuary and the more "modern" it looks, the more easily my mind wonders" and I've seen enough of them in my protestant days to ever want to see such again. That said, our home parish is pretty bland in that seventies dark and brick sort of way.

Joyful Catholics said...

Hi Owen...
So much great art and so many labors of love are in these old churches. So many parishes have fought tooth and nail to KEEP their original altars and statues etc. The 70's were a VERY BAD decade is a plethora of ways for the Church, and now, the tide is turning and we're seeing a return to the love and respect for the 'old' churches in the newer generation. Praise God! Being a lover of art, I sometimes am aghast at how I could have been ever "okay" with not having the beauty around me for so many years away from the CC and even our old Methodist church, which still had the air of 'holy' about it. To see some of these mega churches and other smaller evangelical churches and others, they're just like office buildings on the outside, and even more plain on the inside. It now baffles me as to how anyone in there can be "lifted up" to contemplate on the "things above" when the surrounds don't offer anything of the sort.

Joyful Catholics said...

I see a few grammatical errors above in my reply, which proves how distracted I can be even "WRITING" about the bland and boring 70's and 80's modern architecture we have to endure in some places. :]

Tracy said...

Sounds like a wonderful time.. good for you:)

Joyful Catholics said...

Hi Tracy...good to hear from you. Yes, we had a delightful time on the "lone prairie." ; )