The soft sound of my muffled footsteps upon the stone courtyard, punctuated the stillness of the air. The monastery was silent, yet there was a profound beauty in such silence. I stood in awe surrounded by sweet solitude and serenity. Before me beautiful archaic facades of paved courtyards and roman arches, met my childlike gaze. Although well worn, their vibrant earthy colours filled me with wonder. I paused by a wooden door on the side of the monastery wall beneath a stairwell. A bell hung nearby, rung to call the monks to celebrate the divine liturgy. After long moments I pondered in awe recalling the psalmists words “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
Looking up at the archaic wooden door of the monastery, I read with a sense of awe the ancient Greek and Latin inscriptions chiselled into the archway. Eventually passing through the doorway I felt an immense sense of tranquility, as though I had stepped from modernity into a bygone era devoid of constant and superficial distractions. The monastery emanated serenity and an aura of reverence. Besides the rustling of leaves as the wind danced amidst the treetops, I was all alone. As the sun hid behind the clouds I gazed upon the facade of the church wall. Forlorn, decaying yet defiant in it’s timeless beauty it captured my imagination. An inscription carved in the entranceway of the monastery in ancient Greek read, “Let the love of Christ be the light of your life that guides you” seemed to have presented a mirror mirror before me.The words “What is the meaning of life and what is my purpose”? seemed to echo within the depths of my soul.
Solemnly approaching the cliff edge, I was acutely aware of my insignificance, a lone figure surrounded by the vast expanse of Heaven. The silence had a depth that merely enhanced the tapestry of profound beauty that lay before me. Wisps of wind gently caressed my face as I gazed yonder awestruck. There are times when mere words are unable to reflect reality. Somehow Dostoyevsky’s words “Beauty will save the World”, reflecting a loving God as manifested in the majestic beauty and gift of Creation resonated with vivid clarity. All that is required is purity of heart, born of humility and love for such words to penetrate the depths of ones heart and soul
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (John 8:12)
There are brief but cherished moments in ones life whereby one rejoices in the sheer beauty of Creation. Precious moments, pure in essence, filled with awesome power, that manifest a loving God, allowing the psalmist’s words to penetrate the depths of ones soul.
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)
Crossing the busy road, I walked briefly up a narrow path before suddenly turning right. The transition was amazing to behold. An archaic cobblestone street opened up into a beautiful square. Ornate buildings from the Renaissance period, complete with antiquated wooden iron gilded doors plunged me into a bygone era centuries ago, that I deeply yearned for. A beautiful fountain caught my attention. Moving slowly towards it, oblivious to the sounds around me I gazed at the depiction of “The Baptism of Christ by St. John the Baptist”. The solemnity and reverence in the statues’ expressions struck a chord in my heart. For long moments I gazed upon the figure of Christ, He whom I loved most and reflected on the most beautiful manifestation of sacrifice and pure love. Eventually I turned away and was greeted by a most beautiful facade. The cobblestone street gave way paying homage to a large archaic wooden door magnificently framed by multiple roman arches. The facade stretched superbly heavenwards, simplistically but elegantly ordained.
The veil of darkness that clung on desperately prior to sunrise was broken by the soft moonlight that managed to filter through the treetops illuminating the earth beneath my feet as I slowly made my way up towards the mountain summit, weaving my way between an almost invisible mosaic of rocks, stones, tree roots and bushes. The cold winter wind was surprisingly gentle that night, and as I gazed up towards Heaven itself, bright stars and a full moon cast their beautiful glow. I momentarily paused to appreciate their beautiful radiance. They seemed as precious jewels strewn across the galaxy; a divine tapestry of celestial beauty. With difficulty I withdrew my gaze and resumed my trek up the steep incline with renewed vigour, anticipating the splendour of sunrise. As I neared a cluster of huge boulders I climbed the imposing rock edifice steadily; suddenly I reached the mountain summit. Standing in reverent awe, I looked out eastwards towards the horizon, stretching out my hands in praise. My heart stirred, full of joy; a silent prayer resonated deep within my soul, rejoicing at the beauty of God’s creation, as the first rays of sunrise cast forth their divine beauty across the face of the Earth.
Walking along the shore I pondered briefly at the set of footprints that disappeared in the sand before me, wandering fleetingly to whom they belonged. I was all alone, yet excitement mixed with a sensation of peace gripped me ever so strongly in its embrace. Looking up towards the horizon I hurried; there were only a few brief moments of precious light whereby I could experience the final setting of the sun. Quickly climbing atop a rugged boulder surrounded by water, I looked out towards the ocean. I lay still, overawed by such beauty. There are special moments when silence manifests such a forceful presence that it penetrates into the depths of ones soul. After long moments I stood up, a lone insignificant silhouetted figure, closed my eyes and stretched out my arms. The sound of the gentle wind and splashing of the waves upon the rocks melted away as I turned inwards to prayer, offering praise to God for His beautiful Creation. The solemn and reverent words of the Psalmist “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” echoed within the depths of my heart.