Lifting my Heart towards Heaven

Lifting my Heart towards HeavenJust a few blocks away from our university is the Almudena Cathedral, the church of the patron of Madrid, Our Lady of Almudena. The name comes from the Arab word for “wall” or “citadel”. When the Christians re-conquered the city from the Muslims in the 11th century, the soldiers found the image of the Virgin in the wall that surrounded the city. It had been hidden there for three centuries, and it was miraculously found next to a lighted candle.

During a guided tour of the cathedral, our tour guide enlightened us about the architecture of the church. It is built in the neo-Gothic style, begun in 1879 and not finished until 1993 — a very new church, especially for Spain. The use of arches causes the roof´s pressure to rest on the arches and pillars instead of on the walls, which allowed for the use of many stained-glass windows to enlighten the external walls. These windows passed on the stories of the faith to the illiterate, as a method of catechesis.

It impressed me to reflect on churches as a place of worship and catechesis, places that draw our eyes and our hearts upwards towards God. Just being in one of these Spanish churches lifts my heart to heaven, through the very shape, architecture, and artwork, from the images on the windows to the statues in the side chapels. As I look around at the constant stream of tourists in the pews, I wonder how many of them are there because of their faith, and how many are just taking selfies for their Facebook account. Either way, these churches, whether ancient in age or in style, continue their purpose of lifting people´s hearts to God, whether they realize it or not.

About Carol Dodd

Carol Dodd is a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi in her studies stage of formation. She is from Dallas, Texas, where she attended The Highlands, the Regnum Christi school there, for 11 years. After graduating, she was a Regnum Christi missionary in Chicago for one year. She made her first vows on March 14, 2015 after two years of candidacy at the formation center in Rhode Island. After three years at Mater Ecclesiae College, she is now part of the new studies stage community in Madrid, where she is studying Theology at the Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso.
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