Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Peace That Passes All Understanding...

All religions must be tolerated... for... every man must get to heaven his own way. 
~Frederick the Great

Hey all,

Today I thought I'd share a few pictures with you of some places I love to visit.  No, I'm not talking about graveyards, though as you all know I LOVE wandering through cemeteries.  In fact, sometimes I think dead people are a lot more interesting than live ones!  LOL  
For example, this picture was taken yesterday at the Cathedral de Barcelona. (more on this later).  It is the sepulchral of the Count and Countess Barcelona, who in 1058 founded the cathedral.
Their tombs hang on the wall of the church under those beautiful fresco type paintings.  So very unique.  Something I hadn't seen before.

For those of you who'd like to take an armchair tour to meet a few other dead people, I've put all my pics (so far) in a album online in photobucket.  So, if you're interested, head HERE.

But another place I love spending time in is a church or cathedral.  And in Europe I've hit the jackpot.  The number of churches here are legion and I just wish I had time to see all of them.  I try...some of my best distractions turn out to be churches.  Beautiful, serene, some filled with priceless art, some with dead people, but every one I've been to over here has had an air of peace and love in it, no matter how many tourists are milling around.

I always light a candle, even though I'm not 'religious'.  I pray, though, because I know God doesn't care what denomination I am or am not.  As long as I love him, that's what matters.  And it's because of this I can enjoy churches of all kinds.  I've lit a candle at Notre Dame in Paris, heard mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in London, and even sat through a Russian Orthodox service  in Macau I couldn't understand, but enjoyed anyway.

My point is, when I visit a church, for a service or not, I'm tuning into the vibrations of the building itself.  What it stands for...what it's experienced over time.  And I can sit and soak in that peace for hours.

So, I thought I'd share some of the beautiful places I've seen.  Enjoy!

Notre Dame
Probably my favorite church on the planet.  Beautiful and with an air of peace that defies the thousands of sometimes rude tourists who swarm over it.  I spent many days here. 

Saint Germain
Sitting just outside the Louvre, in Paris, I stumbled up this little gem quite by accident.  But it's beauty and quiet serenity brought me back several times.

Saint Gervais
Another little church I came upon as I was just walking in Paris.  The rounded, beautiful interior caught my eye immediately.  But it was the absolute silence that kept me sitting there for a very long time.

Saint Maria del Mar
This was the first church I discovered in Barcelona.  Set in a busy square, once you go inside, there is nothing but soft murmured prayers and peace.  Already a favorite.

And Finally, a couple of pictures of the beautiful cathedral we discovered yesterday.  

Cathedral de Barcelona

As you can see it is quite magnificent.  These two pics don't do it justice, so if you want, take a moment and google it.  You'll see exactly why this is one of the most visited churches in Spain.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your armchair tour.  I'll be back on Friday with a new Lighter Side blog.  And this one will really send you into orbit!    Have a great hump day!




Phylis said...

Those are beautiful CJ! When I was younger, I became a Baptist. I was attending a church here in town and it kinda went sideways, even the founding members left and about that time my Dad died. The pastor did not contact me or visit me until after the funeral. It hurt. A lot. His explanation was that his wife was ill. She may have been, but not even a phone call??? Anyway, I kinda have your philosophy now. I believe in God. I think many religions have distorted what they should be and sad to say, many are not to be trusted anymore. Thanks for the reminder that church can and should be a place of peace and worship.

Suchetha Karanth said...

cemetries are the places you love to visit! Interesting! Its something new and inspirational :)
Thanks you for the brif into of many wonderful places...

Ray said...

Phylis, I like your comment. Those that try to run our political lives must not have read the biblical quote about rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's. My own denomination says it believes in let each interpret for himself and yet it is very dogmatic about how to interpret. And yet one of its hospitals, Loma Linda University Hospital that first transplanted a baboon heart into a human.

CJ, your comment about the quiet of one of the churches reminds me of the American Cemetery in the battlefields on the shores of Normandy. Several of the group from our ship were usually very rowdy, but every last one of them never said a word seeing all those WWII crosses and Star's of David. It was like life just stopped for a few minutes in honor of those who died in the war.


CJ England said...

Oh Phylis, I'm sorry that happened to you. I wish that was the first time I'd heard that sort of thing.

For me church is an attitude, and when you can have that attitude AND a beautiful place to worship, it makes it even better.

CJ England said...

You're welcome, Suchetha. I'm glad you dropped in and commented.

CJ England said...


Jonathon had the same thoughts when we did Normandy. It was just us and when he stood at the top of the bluffs and thought about those soldiers he got teary eyed.

It is a special place.

Phylis said...

It seems a lot of interpretation is way off the mark. To stand at Normandy should render anyone speechless. I like your line about life stopping Ray.
Thanks CJ. It was probably one of the first harsh life lessons I had.