I’ve been wanting to write a little about some of things I saw in Europe last month, so I’ll start with my favorite site of the whole trip: La Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain. I have seen a lot of European churches, but I had never seen anything like this. I was totally blown away.
This was the most beautiful, inspiring church I have ever seen. (Even more so than St. Peter’s in Rome, which I also saw on this trip.) And it’s not even done yet! The church has been under construction for over a century and will not be complete for at least another 15 years or so.
The church has a true Gothic basis, building off the great Gothic churches of Spain, but it is buried under the layers of Modernisme style details. I was not expecting to love this church; I had thought it looked weird. Strange shapes, too many things going on, etc.
What changed my mind? In a word: feeling. Almost as soon as I entered the site, an incredible feeling came over me. It was in parts awe, peace, joy…really, these words are insufficient. The shadows on Jesus’s face as he knows he is about to die. The ethereal light filtering down through a forest canopy, like the primordial garden of Eden. The intricate glory of Mary’s assumption. I did not see the scriptures in Gaudí’s work–I felt them. Here was a man who took his talents and worldview and dedicated their beauty to God. If that’s not inspiring and fitting for a church, I don’t know what is.