On a flight home from Los Angeles last year, I sat next to a young professor of landscape architecture who had just visited the city’s new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. We discussed sacred architecture all the way to the East Coast, and he encouraged me to see the cathedral when I could. On my latest trip to Los Angeles I had a free day and decided to take my prayers to Our Lady of the Angels.
My prayers consisted of motherly things—intense and helpless worry, guarded gratitude, and concerns about my own work. I know I can pray at my desk, or in the convent chapel, or in my own garden with a cup of tea. But architecture shapes prayer and opens you to new ways of seeing and listening. It’s easier to pray in prayed-in places. I know I can expect to be changed in a sacred place.
Suzanne Guthrie writes Soulwork Toward Sunday, a weekly self-guided retreat and meditation based on the lectionary's upcoming gospel reading, on her website, edgeofenclosure.org. She lives in Woodstock, New York.