In my ongoing quest to find inner peace and happiness, I decided to visit St Patrick’s Cathedral. I have observed this grand structure from the outside many times over. I have always said to myself that I wish to see it from the inside. So, on a whim, I just went over and paid the place a visit.
For the record, I am not catholic, I was raised Pentecostal by my family, and today I don’t really practice any religion. However, I do respect and seek to learn of all the positive teachings that these practices bring to us. I am very open minded in this aspect, and I can certainly appreciate the beauty and devotion of the church. Even if you remove all of the religious meaning behind it, the art itself is amazingly beautiful.
That being said, let’s talk about the cathedral.
What can I say of my first time experience? Do I really need to tell you how beautiful and splendid this cathedral is? Most noticeable to me were the high arched columns. At first they appear to be just that, columns. However, should you follow them to the top with your eyes you would see that they come together at the top and form an arch. This pattern is consistent all across the cathedral. I noticed the various “shrines” setup for the saints. I observed the candle offerings and folks going on their knees to offer a prayer to St. Michael, or St Elizabeth after lighting a candle and making a small contribution.
Should you walk the length of the building, you would see the walls have designs on them, I examined one which portrayed the crucifixion of Christ.
Jesus is sentenced to death.
Jesus if made to carry his cross.
Jesus drops the cross a 2nd time.
I could not help but think how these religious events have been blended into our everyday language. Statements such as “the cross that I bare,” or “Hay, Jesus Cristo,” have come from these historical biblical events. I find that most interesting. I took notice of the confessional rooms, and wished I could enter. There are many things I wish to be absolved of. I wish that perhaps a priest could guide me in life. I feel I have always had to rely on myself, in terms of guidance and survival. My parents have always been there for me, but as a kid, I didn’t think they’d understand my problems. Thankfully though, my mom saw that something was wrong, and put me to work with a counselor who helped me find my way out of the darkness.
One can’t help but notice the tinted glass, various images of Christ, his apostles, and the saints painted on these windows. Again, given that I am not catholic I could not fully appreciate this. I do not know who is who. However, the beauty of it, much like many other overwhelming images made my eyes water.
I have always wondered why things like this affect me this way? I believe that my constant reading has created visualizations of these images in my mind, and when they are in front of me when I do visit the places I read about, I am just filled with joy to experience it. To see what perhaps a fictional character saw in a book, something that was described so beautifully by an author, when I see it myself, I am moved. Perhaps this is why that happens to me.
Well after walking inside for sometime, I sat on the pews for a little while. I offered a silent prayer to God, asking for guidance in my life. Asking that he help me make decisions that are rational, and that he help me be a better person.
As I sat quietly contemplating all before me, I observed a woman being asked not to take pictures of the “Chapel of our lady of mercy, where the sacred sacrament is”. I do not know what this is and I will research it. Prior to leaving I purchased a book that claims to challenge the Davinci Code from a religious perspective. I also purchased a cd of beautiful organ music from the cathedral, along with 2 miniature ornaments, a Baby Jesus and St. Michael. I will add these to my home displays. They will join my Indian Buddha, my Chinese Buddha, and other historical and religious artifacts.
When I left the cathedral I felt at peace. Far removed from the hustle and the bustle of New York City life. It was very soothing, and therapeutic for me. It didn’t take but my first steps out of the structure to remind me that I was still in NYC. “Hey, move it, jerk!” Yes sir, have a good day too!
Look, if you have time, regardless of your religious beliefs, this is a beautiful place to visit here in NYC, you really should check it out! It is pretty amazing!
If you have ever been to St Patrick’s Cathedral, or any like it, please share your experiences in the comments! NYC has many of these beautiful churches, we have one right here in Forest Hills where I have sought refuge when my mind needed some calming down.