Physical Poverty vs. Spiritual Poverty

There is a greater poverty than physical poverty: spiritual poverty.  Innumerable have been the stories of irreligious people who, upon setting foot into the Cathedral of Notre Dame, felt their souls moved, transformed by the beauty (and I daresay the enormous graces awaiting any and all visitors via the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady). Magnificent, ornate churches such as Notre Dame feed the soul by their very design, because they were intended not just to be a space to worship, but to be a teaching tool for the masses, many of whom were illiterate. The windows teach. The statues teach. The paintings teach. The high ceilings and spires lift our minds and hearts up to Heaven. These are not buildings which were ruthlessly built at the expense of the poor, but were willfully and intentionally built BY the devotion, hard work, and dedication OF the poor. In these churches, both rich and poor are equally reminded of the treasures of Heaven which await them, and all receive a sweet reprieve from the harshness of life. Why should the poor have nowhere beautiful to go and raise their minds and hearts to Heaven? Why should the temple which houses God’s earthly presence, where Heaven and earth meet during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, why should that temple be second-rate? Why Build a Beautiful Church by Fr. Dwight Longenecker expounds on this more eloquently than I can. All I know is that the world is experiencing a severe spiritual poverty, not to mention a poverty of true beauty. The beauty of churches like the Cathedral of Notre Dame remediate this pervasive spiritual poverty, for such beauty draws us in to learn the Truth of Jesus, to receive the Life of Jesus into our bodies and souls at Holy Mass, and fortifies and inspires us to go forward in the footsteps of Jesus the Way. May the spiritual lives of untold numbers be rebuilt with Notre Dame de Paris. Amen.

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