A lesson in traditional Catholic church architecture – and the Bible

dcchurch

They don’t make them like this anymore

Long before most people could read, the Church was preaching the Gospel. And to do so, she used the very structure of her buildings to preach. Many of our older builds are a sermon in stone and stained glass.

The Scriptures come alive in our art, statues, paintings, and majestic stained glass windowsthat soar along the walls of our Churches like jewels of light. Even the height and shape of our older churches preach the word. The height draws our sights up to heaven as if to say, Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at God’s right hand (Col 3:1). And the shape of most of our older churches is the shape of a cross. As if to say, May I never glory in anything, save the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ(Gal 6:14).

My own Parish Church is a sermon in stone and wood and glass.

Read more from Msgr. Charles Pope

The Bible – effectively summarized in a single page of text – by Monsignor Charles Pope

BibleInspired

What then is the plot of sacred scripture? Simply this:

Exposition – God created Man as an act of love and made him to live in union with his God. In the beginning Adam and Eve accepted this love and experienced a garden paradise. The heart of their happiness was to know the Lord and walk with Him in a loving and trusting relationship.

Conflict – But man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart and he willfully rejected the God who given him everything by listening to an evil tempter who had given him nothing. Adam rebelled against God and refused to be under his loving authority and care. This led to a complete unraveling of everything. Paradise vanished, Adam and Eve experienced a deep and personal disintegration of their inmost being.

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Msgr. Charles Pope: Brilliant priest, pastor, theologian – and blogger.

Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, a vibrant parish community in Washington, DC. A native of Chicago with a bachelor degree in computer science, his interest in the priesthood stemmed from his experience as a church musician. He attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and was ordained in 1989. A pastor since 2000, he also has led Bible studies in the U.S. Congress and at the White House in past years.

Editor’s note: Msgr. Pope’s excellent commentaries served to inspire and enrich the lives of many … Catholics and non-Catholics, alike … this past Holy Week. For that … and for all his other great work … we thank him and pray for him.

His daily posts are always worth reading.

Read/watch/listen to him here.

On the Evangelization of the Jewish People – The Surprising View of the Pope

On the Evangelization of the Jewish People
– The Surprising View of the Pope

Editor’s note: A close examination of the collective writings of Father/Bishop/Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI will reveal a radical, progressive, liberal German theologian whose novel theories have often proved to be less than authentically Catholic, bringing much confusion and misery into the church.

As pope (except in some of his purely “personal” and non-official writings) Benedict XVI has charted a much more traditional and conservative course. But sometimes, he just can’t help himself!

Link

The Miracle of Life – A Meditation on Mystery and Beauty of Life as we March

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

The magnificence of life is really too wonderful too describe. But I found this description some years ago which summons reverence by its very ability to baffle the mind:

MIRACLE OF LIFE– Consider the miracle of the human body.  Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos.  Our world on bothsides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder.  Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes.  These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia.  And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function.  And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Did all this happen by chance or do you see the hand of God?

Today, many of us march for life, here in Washington, on the West Coast,  and in other communities. Today we ponder the great mystery that is expressed in the 139th psalm:

For it was you who created my being,  knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for the wonder of my being…Already you knew my soul my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret….every one of my days was decreed before one of them came into being. To me, how mysterious your thoughts, the sum of them not to be numbered! (Psalm 139 varia)

Read more. Or watch a fascinating video.

On the “Beauty” of Dying

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

As a priest it has been my privilege to accompany many on their final journey as they prepare for death. Some have gone quickly others have lingered for years in nursing homes. From a pure worldly perspective death seems little less than a disaster and a cause for great sadness. But from a perspective of faith there is something “beautiful” going on. I know you may think it bold that I describe it this way but in the dying process something necessary and beautiful is taking place. It is born in pain but it brings forth gifts and glory if we are faithful.

Read the article

Life After Death

The Prophet Daniel and the Beauty of Death