Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stand in Holy Places

We had fast and testimony meeting this Sunday because next weekend is General Conference. As usual, it was great; all the testimonies seemed so insightful. Quite a few of them remarked on the importance of the temple.

This is the first temple I ever visited. Salt Lake.

I saw the Cochabamba, Bolivia temple from the sky as we were
leaving for Peru. I just love it so much, and I can't wait to go there someday.

Ingrid showed me photos of the Manti temple yesterday.
It is beautiful. I'm definitely hoping to visit it sometime soon. 

The Provo temple is the one I'm visiting the most lately.
I know it's kind of funny looking, but I have grown to love it.

One my recent resolutions that has actually stuck around is attending the temple. I'm glad that it has. Out of all my resolutions, it has made the most difference. It has made me more concious not only have how I spend my time, but where. I like taking the idea of "standing in holy places" literally. A holy place is anywhere the spirit can dwell, and some places are more inviting to the spirit than others. More specifically speaking, places that inspire awe, reverence, and contemplation.

A lot of places have that quality, and I appreciate what people have done to create places that inspire that sort of veneration.

A favorite article of mine from the Ensign talks about one of these places. It discusses how the stained glass windows in the Chartre cathedral in France were used to teach Christian parables, specifically the story of the good samaritan.

It's beautiful, isn't it?

I wonder about these cathedrals.

They are monuments meant to inspire reverence to God. Like Latter-day Saint temples, members of the community often had to sacrifice so much so that they could be built. But where do they "stand" today? Are they filled by pious worshipers, or tour groups hurrying through so they can get their requisite photo and move on to the next site?

I love visiting the Cathedral of the Madileine, just down the street from my house. It's cool, because they do a lot of services in spanish, and they have free musical performances a couple times a month. When they are have something special like a carol service or those humanities performances that are coming up, they are usually filled to capacity. But mass? The few times I've gone, it's been pretty empty.

When I heard Mitt Romney's speech on religion and America, this sentiment rang true with me:

"I'm not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty. I have visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired … so grand … so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer. The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe's churches. And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away."

Let's not let these places be forgotten. I spend so much time at school and work; it is nice to have the temple as a respite. But you don't even have to go there to be in a holy place. You just need to make sure that wherever you are, the spirit is welcome there also.

This quote from President Faust puts it best:

"As President Brigham Young taught, 'Every moment of [our lives] must be holiness to the Lord, . . . which is the only course by which [we] can preserve the Spirit of the Almighty to [ourselves].' May the Lord bless each and all of us in our special responsibility to find holiness to the Lord by standing in holy places. That is where we will find the spiritual protection we need for ourselves and our families. That is the source of help to carry forth the word of the Lord in our time. Standing in holy places will help us rise above the evil influences of our time and draw us closer to our Savior."

Happy Sunday.

1 comment:

  1. it is no longer sunday...but tuesday, and this was quite the bit of inspiration i needed on this very tuesday. thanks gretchen. glad i found your blog via julia.