Submitted by Arthur Zemanek

  I only knew about the Sagrada Familia through books because of its magnificent architecture. Seeing this unbelievable basilica was my top moment in our pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain. Even looking back at pictures now does not do it justice. This beautiful basilica is still under construction and yet it’s the most beautiful piece of architecture I’ve ever seen. From the numerous stained-glass windows pouring brilliant colored light to the rising treelike pillars, the Sagrada Família is the perfect example of how our Catholic faith inspires beauty.

   Construction of this amazing basilica began in 1882 and there is still more to be done. Many people ask, “Why is the Sagrada Familia still under construction?” It’s a reasonable question because many already consider it to be the most beautiful basilica in the world. After taking a tour of this magnificent edifice I realized that I still want more to be done because God inspires true beauty in the form of architecture. Continuing to go above and beyond in order to inspire others to be close to God is truly why the Sagrada Familia is still under construction.

   Even the smallest details on the exterior show us how we should use our talents to praise God. Numerous statues of saints dot the treelike roof as they represent the fruits of church. The colors from the numerous stained-glass windows depict the beauty of nature as sunshine floods the floor. The towering pillars show that there is endless inspiration from God. I hope to one day return to the Sagrada Familia upon its entire completion in order to bask in its beauty once again. It’s amazing to see how God inspires people. The inspiration depicted through this architectural work of art inspires me to be the best person that I can be in order to help others.

  French writer and Catholic convert Leon Bloy wrote, “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” Antoni Gaudi, designer of this cathedral, is on his way to being recognized as a saint. He is now a “Servant of God,” the first step toward canonization. This great architect understood that holiness is about realizing our deepest, greatest potential, becoming who we were truly destined to be. What a shame it would be for us to miss it! The pilgrimage to Portugal and Spain had many amazing moments, but none were as beautiful as the magnificent inspiration of the Sagrada Familia.

   Arthur Zemanek, 21, is a senior at SUNY Polytechnic Institute majoring in nursing.

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