It is funny and powerful to see how much my relationship with faith is coming up in my reflections on gratitude. I feel the need to reinforce that I don’t mean to come off as preachy or intend to show off accumulated, regurgitated wisdom. Gratitude reminds me that there’s someone out there looking out for me and providing all of this abundance. Often times, this thought triggers an outpouring of realization that will always be fertilized by a healthy dose of the scriptures that were so ubiquitous in my youth.
I’ve always been enamored by the Church – first by the similarity of prayer and common expression of, you guessed it, gratitude, and over time, by the grandeur of the buildings themselves. They were meant to evoke the majesty of the Lord with their vaulted ceilings and awe inspiring decor. How beautiful to contemplate our human insignificance in the sanctity of a structure reminding us of our origins in greatness! I’ve been soothed by the lilting choir, moved to tears in prayer and my soul has resonated with the impassioned lessons from the pulpit. In college, I would often attend Mass on Sunday mornings, standing in the back and almost always welcomed with open arms by regular church goers. I was introduced to the practice of Lent and the joyful celebration of Easter as a young freshman and every year since, anticipate this time of the year. When I travelled, I found churches to not only be architectural highlights of my journey but also a lovely insight into the local culture of prayer. I’ve attended Mass in Hindi in Landour, Mussoorie and in Spanish in Barcelona, Spain and it’s beautiful to see how the message always carries a relevant meaning for me. I revere the teachings of the Bible and am grateful for Jesus’s unconditional love always. This church was the highlight of my otherwise unremarkable journey to Porto. It’s beautiful to see the regional touches of local churches and think about the dedication and time that went into creating veritable standing pieces of art. This is one of my favorites.