Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spiritual moments

Spiritual moments happen in big and grand celebrations and quiet moments. This week marked two special happenings that left me feeling connected to the universe. One was the chance to observe Tibetan Lamas layout and construct a mandala sand painting in our student union.

The platform is a simple wooden square that is elevated. The process of laying out the design is completed from memory and uses chalk lines on the black surface. The colored sand is applied with a metal funnel and another tool that is used to create a vibration on the funnel that moves the sand onto the platform.

The process is amazing to observe. It is even more incredible to realize that when the mandala is complete, it is destroyed to represent the impermanence of life. A portion of the mandala is given to those who attend the closing ceremony while the rest is released into a moving body of water.

The second experience was at the funeral of a friend's mother. Her funeral mass was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in St. Benedict, Kansas near Seneca. The church is constructed of limestone and looks like many rural Kansas churches. However, the interior will amaze you! The murals on the ceiling, painted patterns on the columns and walls, gorgeous stained glass, and statuary are intricate, colorful, and awe inspiring.

The church was constructed in 1894 and the interior dates to 1901. An extensive restoration was conducted from 1980-1983.

Recognized as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas Art, this spiritual place is something to see. The service was beautiful and the sense of spirit and peace was so strong in the beautiful surroundings. It sounds silly, but the hymns seemed to mean more and the graceful beauty of the art helped create calm.

If you are driving in northeast Kansas and have the chance to find tiny St. Benedict, you cannot miss the church and you will not regret stopping to have a quiet moment in this beautiful space.

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