The Last Supper and lasting memories
I'm having European flashbacks. Perhaps it's because of the recent earthquake in Italy, President Obama's recent trip to the continent, and it's Lent. Throughout the 1990s and the first half of this decade I traveled to Europe at least once a year. Other than personal trips and visits to family and friends, my wife and I worked as mountain guides in the Pyrenees of France and Spain. I have also hiked in Scotland, England, Italy and Sicily, Austria, Slovenia. Malta, Bulgaria, and Ireland. I have a deep appreciation for the continent's landscapes-but even more so for its cultural attributes-particularly its churches and cathedrals.
I always feel the presence of God when I'm in nature. I rarely do in man's cities. However in the great cathedrals and churches of Europe, I often feel the Creator's presence. Perhaps its because of my Catholic upbringing-I love the statues, the stained glass, the incense, the candles-it is all so mystical -so celestial. And I love the artwork of the Middle Ages-it invokes in me reflection and awe. I have yet to make it to Milan despite my several trips to Italy. It is there that Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting hangs. I'll get there eventually. The Last Supper painting I've posted here is from the Louvre in Paris-it's by Philippe de Champaigne, a relatively unknown painter to the masses. The painting is never-the-less a work of art. Here in the Pacific Northwest I won't have the paintings and ornate churches and Renaissance art to spiritually inspire me, but I do have some of God's greatest works surrounding me. The Cascades, Olympic Mountains and coastline, and the area's ancient forests are some of the greatest shrines on the planet. I worship there often. They are sacred and precious and like the great cathedrals, basilicas and churches of Europe, these natural cathedrals are worth preserving, protecting and respecting.