Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sagrada Familia

Yesterday, I had the wonderful experience of viewing the film Sagrada on Netflix.  I am new to the story of the building of this cathedral and stumbled upon the film by chance (or more likely because of snynchronicity because I found it so meaningful).

My personal associations to the story or my sense of connection to it were numerous.  Initially, the company that I work for has a long association with the Business author, Verne Harnish.  Verne has been to our leadership conferences twice and happens to recommend Barcelona whole-heartedly and if I remember correctly relocated his family to Barcelona. From my positive regard for Verne, I had an openness to Barcelona from that moment forward.

The film also has some connection to Our Lady of Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery that the cathedral's first architect had visited and which the film said may have been one of his sources of natural inspiration.  Montserrat was already woven into my life experiences as it is a Benedictine monastery and because it is home to a black madonna.  Being Polish, our black madonna is Our Lady of Czestochowa at Jasna Gora Monastery in Poland and so the commanilty of having black madonnas was a connector as well.  The Marian, Benedictine associations tie easily back to Sagrada Familia (Holy Family, i.e., Jesus, Mary and Joseph).

The film has an inset of texts that appear from time to time with the appearance of a young boy.  One of the lines of the text read something similiar to "When I was a boy, I believed in God.  The creator and the creature and all created things were good."  As a child, too, I had a deep connection to God and a sense of awe and wonder and mystery.  There was an inference of innocence and longing conveyed in those words as I reflected upon them throughout the film.

The other conscious association I had is from living in upper Manhattan while at Union Theological Seminary and having the Cathederal of St. John the Divine as my place of Sunday worship for a few years while associated with the Order of the Incarnation.  We used to process in the cathedral processions and I also used to work in the soup kitchen there in the afternoons.  St. John the Divine is still under construction as well.  The wonder I felt during my time there was really palpable.  The faith community there I experienced as genuine and the work on the cathedral itself was humbling to witness with the artisans and craftsman being so intimately apart of the day-to-day.  In my mind, the cathedrals both foreshadow a more global orientation and a sense of hope fueled by a deep faith and appreciation of the arts and beauty.  In nature and in the cathedral, I have often felt a sense of deep humility and at the same time an amazing connection to life, to other people and to the mystery behind it all.

I still feel as though I am a keeper of that more innocent faith...