Saturday, February 17, 2024

Pope Francis: Churches should lift our hearts to praise God

Pope Francis invites the construction board of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona to assure that pilgrims lift their hearts to God when they enter the majestic church.

“Like the spires and bell towers, may the gazes of pilgrims be lifted and their voices proclaim with the angels: ‘Holy Immortal God’.”

Pope Francis offered that reminder to the Construction Board of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in the Spanish city of Barcelona as he met with them in the Vatican on Saturday.

In his address, the Pope dedicated his reflection to the theme prayer, since the Church is currently in the Year of Prayer leading up to the 2025 Jubilee.

“A climate of prayer must not be lost in our temples, and must be one of the priorities for those who, like you, have received the responsibility of their care,” he said.

Portals of faith, hope, charity

Pope Francis spoke about the three portals that make up the basilica’s façade, saying each has a theme illustrated by Scripture passages and framed by a prayer.

The portal of faith - dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and found on the right side of the façade - bears the words of the Trisagion, a hymn from the Divine Liturgy for many Eastern rite Churches.

It also depicts Jesus preaching to the doctors of the law, showing that “preached faith must always become prayer,” said the Pope.

The left-hand portal is dedicated to St. Joseph and is called the portal of Hope. The central portal is dedicated to Jesus and called the portal of Charity.

Together, they represent the Holy Family and invite pilgrims to raise our gaze “toward the mystery of the Incarnation.”

The Pope noted the image of the Rosary that descends through the stained glass and frames the star of David, as if to say: “Here is our light.”

“It is precisely in adoration, in the contemplative prayer of the mysteries,” he said, “where we open ourselves to that light, like the window of this temple.”

Prayerful contemplation of pilgrims

In conclusion, Pope Francis urged the men and women overseeing the Basilica’s construction to ensure the contemplative aspect of the masterpiece of the Servant of God Antonio Gaudí.

Prayer, he said, should be the end goal of the Sagrada Familia Basilica.