Rose windows and stained glass - The Spiritual Dimension

"The ability to create beauty is God's greatest gift to man. And the appreciation of beauty whether man made or natural is not only a joy but an active call to something much greater than oneself. At rare intervals in our lives we may experience moments of magic, when a person, a place, a view, an object or a situation seems to transfix us, and we suddenly see the world in a quite different light. Such moments are often accompanied by an equally sudden 'inner expansion' and the realization that there is much more of life to be experienced, much that is unfulfilled. However unexpected the moments may be, they have a feeling of the Absolute about them. They are rare and elusive but leave us with a sense of awe and wonder which we feel is our birthright.

"The Gothic cathedrals have imparted something of this experience to many people. Their towering heights, accentuated by the slender ascending pillars interweaving in the vaults overhead, enclose a space that seems to be held under a spell by the tensions of its stone structure, and into this arena is poured light of almost infinite shades of colour, sparkling jewel like in the sun or glowing quietly in the light of overcast skies.

"A valuable piece of writing has come down to us which expresses how one individual, Abbot Suger, felt in 1144 on entering the first Gothic building, the abbey church of Saint Denis, built to his own specifications. He saw the jewels and coloured glass in his new church as possessing the ability to transform 'that which is material to that which is immaterial. ... Then it seems to me that I see myself dwelling, as it were, in some strange region of the universe which neither exists entirely in the slime of the earth nor entirely in the purity of Heaven; and that, by the grace of God, I can be transported from this inferior to that higher world."

From "Rose Windows" by Painton Cowen Thames &Hudson,1979

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