And I am in awe. For many who don’t understand this aspect of our faith, it can seem too opulent and frivolous to have places like these. It may seem like we have these places throughout the world so that the Church could turn them into museums and to show off our riches. But that’s not the point at all.
I think it’s about having a physical connection to our tradition and to the legacy that those before us left behind. In a way, these places are evidence of the profound impact the religious experience can have. The world has changed around these historical sites, but it’s purpose remains constant.
In the artwork and architecture are faithful hands that expressed what encountering God feels like. When you walk into the Mariazell Basilica or the Benedictine Abbey of Melk, the natural instinct is to look up. Every fibre of the structure’s building points to God and is always in relationship to God. It inspires awe and reverence. No one dares to speak in more than a whisper in these places because people know they are in the presence of something grand; something larger than themselves.