As I have been focusing on spiritual things during this season of Lent, a trip to the National Cathedral in Washington did just that – it drew my eyes and heart heavenward. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit, I would highly recommend it. This Cathedral is the 6th largest in the world and has 231 stained glass windows. You can look at pictures, but there is something that can only be experienced by walking through the doors.
Rowan LeCompte, the cathedral’s foremost stained glass artist, compares stained glass to music. ” Both are emotional and instinctively perceived. Like music, stained glass can stimulate the imagination, it can lift the heart, it can enchant.” I found this to be true. Music has the ability to touch my soul and I discovered that stained glass also moves me in indescribable ways. The beauty of these windows as well as the architecture were awe inspiring and as I walked around I found myself in tears several times from the feelings that overwhelmed me.
The amazing beauty of the stained glass, as well as the of the incredible architecture of building itself, caused me to have the distinct feeling that I was in the presence of something Holy. The windows all have unique and specific meanings, some Biblical and some historical. Seeing Jesus, Mary, other well-known Biblical figures depicted in these scenes reached out and grabbed my heart, causing me to simply stop and stare with tears running down my cheeks .
The only thing I would do differently if I were to go again (and will be sure to do as I tour other cathedrals) is to have my ear buds with me to be able to listen to the music that ‘goes with’ the experience. Unfortunately others were touring the building and even though my heart ‘heard’ music, my ears were distracted by the noises around me. I can only imagine what would happen if/when I am in a Holy place like this and am listening to music that touches my soul in that same deeply moving way.
To get a sense of what I ‘felt’, click on the link below and listen to the music as you look at the images of the cathedrals in the video. It can’t do justice to actually being there, but if this is the kind of thing that can touch your soul, it will be a wonderful experience. I have been fortunate to have a facebook friend who has posted various Youtube videos during this Lenten season and they have been special gifts to me. This video is one that he posted.
Click HERE to listen to Allegri Miserere
If this isn’t what moves your soul, I would encourage you to look until you find what does—-it can be an amazing and overwhelming experience.