Trust me on this one. There is nothing small about the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
At its highest point, the ceiling is 60 feet and its twin towers are 103 feet tall. The stained-glass windows (made in Munich, Germany) are 23' tall and are breathtakingly beautiful. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cathedral stands tall and proud in the heart of downtown Mobile, Alabama.
Although not a Catholic, I have spent many hours in this church meditating, praying and shutting out the world for at least a few moments in time. Even before this Lenten Chapel-A-Day odyssey began, I would seek out an open sanctuary from time to time for a spiritual refueling stop. It's not easy to find churches that are open during the weekdays. I learned that the Cathedral is open daily-- for tours, for a noon mass for Roman Catholics.. and simply as a place of prayer and spiritual reflection for all-- including this Protestant who finds the church a place of comfort, a place of enlightenment, and a place of peace.
One of the scriptures in my chapel-time this week comes from Psalm 34: "Seek peace and pursue it." (verse 14) I've read that verse many times. I've highlighted it and underlined it. But this time my eyes focused on one.. very small... word.
Pursue. The definition includes the synonyms: persist, hunt... and chase.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a huge fan of keeping the peace. But, for me, that typically means a passive action-- mediating a disagreement (when asked) between other people; walking away from a touchy situation; smiling when I want to scream!
This one...very small... word presents me with a challenge to examine my efforts at 'keeping the peace." How can I become more effective in creating an atmosphere of peace in the world around me? How can I "chase" peace in order to create a better environment and better relationships--- for my family, my friends, my community and my world?
Truth is---I don't know just yet. Like this majestic cathedral in which I sit, constructing a plan for peace is a huge undertaking...even on a small, personal scale.
But, it's something I intend to think about in the coming days.
In no small measure.