The signs outside the ancient church in a central European city were clear: a red diagonal line through the image of a camera meant no photos were to be taken inside. Thankfully I wasn’t one of the rule breakers – those who did, however, had their cameras snatched away by the security guard on duty. I witnessed one such confiscation and patiently refrained from succumbing to the temptation to sneak in my own picture taking.
Instead, the more leisurely stroll through the basilica Sacred Heart brought me back to the role of pilgrim rather than tourist. Pilgrims saunter slowly and take in the multi-sensory experience of the moment; tourists move swiftly by with camera and stop watch in tow.
As I walked pilgrim-like through this beautiful edifice I found myself noticing much more detail. The colors of the stained glass, the beauty of the frescoes, the detail on the paintings, the enormity of the statues, the brilliance of the silver, the woodwork, the organ, the altar, all seemed to come alive. What changed for me? No camera to focus and no distraction to keep me from enjoying fully the gorgeous handiwork and skilled labors of love that gracefully erected this amazing church.
The question I asked myself is one I offer to you today: are you running through life like a distracted tourist or are you strolling carefully like an attentive pilgrim? Choose the latter and not only will the slower pace feed your soul but the gracious gifts of the moment will too!