The visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross requires the ascent of a mountain.
Churches are constructed for many reasons: to provide a place for the community to gather out of the cold or the sun; to capitalize upon a prime location for visibility, marketing and access and, in the Old Testament tradition, to mark a holy occurrence.
Most of the churches in the Holy Land, for example, were not designed with marketing or access in mind. They commemorate a spiritual event.
Walking up the ramp to the Chapel of the Holy Cross the feeling is that construction of this chapel was built to honour the sense of the sacred that exists in this spot. Rotate through 360 degrees and every movement seems to yield a view and the feeling that we stand in the presence of something beyond our design. Awe is the appropriate response.
Drop to our knees and construct an altar in this place.
Not all feel this of course. The hundreds who ascend the mountain do so for different reasons. For some, it is just another stop on the trolley route, for others it presents astounding vistas that prompt them to whip out their SLRs and phones to catch the sun playing on the rocks.
For some of us though, the chapel provides occasion and place to stop and give thanks for the dusty and parched wonder of the desert and the forces of creation that led to this expression.
The sculptor Staude said, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of men and women and be a living reality.”
What provokes a sense of wonder and delight this day?