Why is La Sagrada Familia magical to us?

La Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Barcelona, the second-most populous city in Spain. Its construction started in 1882 and has been ongoing for 135 years as of the year 2017. When its construction is completed (target 2026, i.e. a century after the death of Antoni Gaudi), La Sagrada Familia will be the tallest church in the world. Indeed, La Sagrada Familia is the magnum opus [4] of Gaudi, that has touched generations, including our Little Prince and myself.

It was meant to be an atonement to sins, according to Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1926), one of the best architects of the modernism, who carefully studied the structures and functions of our mother nature [5]. As a lover of natural lights, especially side lighting through windows, I found the incorporation of natural light in Gaudi’s work delightful, actually it is one of his personal favorites. Gaudi is also environmentally-friendly and creatively used rejected pieces that the collaborating ceramic industries surrendered for e.g. Casa Batlló.

Gaudi used his talents [2] in architecture endeavors as a form of Catechism [3]. “Every detail on the exterior and interior of the church acts as an architectural explanation of the teachings of the gospel.” Gaudi also subtly symbolized concepts such as the highest state of being and eternity through birds (alabaster pigeons) and cypress tree, respectively. Indeed, symbology is everywhere at La Sagrada Familia.

Gaudi worked the most on the Nativity facade. The Nativity facade depicts the birth, childhood and young manhood of Jesus. The Passion facade represents the Passion of Jesus. The Glory facade represents his death: Death, Final Judgment, and Glory. The Glory facade will be the main entrance once finished.

Jesus died when he was 33 years old. At age 33, God blessed me with an opportunity to physically pay a respect to La Sagrada Familia. I am going to bring not only myself, but also Little Prince. It would be his first time visiting a European city (excluding another city of flight transit) and our first mother-son trip to Europe. We had our first (short-distance) flight together when he was 1.25 years old to visit his maternal grandparents in a challenging time. His presence definitely gave hope t0 people who have loved me very much, and now I am paying it forward by loving the future generations.

Honey Panda [1] and I love to visit sites listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and considered of outstanding universal value. La Sagrada Familia is within the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. To us, UNESCO’s site are more fascinating than branded goods. La Sagrada Familia will also be the first UNESCO site of Little Prince.

On 20170401, we were blessed to attend an Easter Concert (Concert de Setmana Santa in Catalan) at La Sagrada Familia. After we placed our stuff at the hotel within a walking distance, Little Prince and I walked to the Basilica. Between 6.15 pm and 6.20 pm (the concert started at 6 pm), I showed a staff that I wrote to the Conciliar Seminary of Barcelona that told me to apply for a pair of tickets that were distributed by lot. Unfortunately, the website was inaccessible outside Spain, so I asked the hotel to apply on our behalf, but we were not the lucky ones through the lot. The staff kindly gave us a pair of tickets [6] and in few minutes, we were seated admiring the beautiful La Sagrada Familia accompanied by beautiful choir!

The next day (see 20170402*mp4), we visited the La Sagrada Familia and purchased an audio tour (bought online in advance [7]) that Little Prince greatly enjoyed. We spent ~ 5 hours there and after a quick snack, we went to the crypt to attend a mass, it was my first mass in 2017 (due to my medical challenges, work requirements, and the safety concerns at where I lived in the beginning of 2017). The Holy Family is inspiring for little children.

To be creative and geniusly creative, consider alternative/multiple perspectives, ideas, styles and tastes. We can learn to be eclectic (不拘一格) like Gaudi. On 20170318, I enjoyed watching Mila Casa, where Gaudi envisioned the column as the bone, the stones as the flesh. I also like the idea of staircases that seem to float in the sky, connecting different levels.

“Travel with Karma. Respect and peaceful coexistence are the best traveling companions.” 20170317 via TMB V21 while learning (researching) about Barcelona

Since I believe that questioning (and the actions to find out about the answers) is one of the most effective strategies to learn, I have prepared a list of questions for Little Prince:
What happened to Gaudí’s plans for Sagrada Familia?
What do Gaudí, Star Wars and lollipops have in common?
Was Gaudi a genius or a madman?
What are the UNESCO’s list of Barcelona? Gaudi’s work

***

[1] May Honey Panda and I will be good friends for as many days, months, years, and decades, as the beautiful song of Olympic 1992 Barcelona Amigos Para Siempre inspired me.

[2] Remember the EAT mnemonic efforts + attitude + talents (aptitude) = success

[3] As of Spring 2017, Little Prince will attend Catechism classes in the near future, La Sagrada Familia is a nice introduction. I hope that I can re-learn Catechism together with him. | While we were in Barcelona, Little Prince often watched documentaries related to La Sagrada Familia and other works by Gaudi, I was surprised yet grateful by his saying that “I like it (a particular documentary of over 45 minuteskindly shared by Dan Man) very much”.

[4] After multiple visits to La Sagrada Familia in Spring 2017, I seriously asked myself what magnum opus that I would like to leave for this world, I aspire to be a producer (of something excellent) for this world, not only a consumer of countless things. I must prioritize and focus on creating things that matter. Thank you Gaudi for the wake-up calls through your beautiful designs and creation that touch our senses, mind and spirit!

[5] Little Prince noticed the resemblance of Gaudi’s columns in the La Sagrada Familia to tree in the forest. Immersing ourselves in natural sites such as forest during day time or Gaudi’s spiritual forest can indeed heal; World Economic Forum  shared an idea that forest bathing can be rejuvenating, thanks to the fresh air and phytoncide (essential oils), that can contribute to “lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.”

On 20170423, while helping his mother to remove the shells of boiled egg and simultaneously listening to a documentary on Gaudi, Little Prince asked which Lunar zodiac year Gaudi was born in. To our surprise, he was born in the year of earth dragon (1852), this coincidence may explain Gaudi’s fascination with dragons and the integrations of them into his architectural work, despite Gaudi himself might not be aware of his Lunar year!

[6] I would never forget his name (see ref2017/barcelona_plan_gratitude_tickets_20170401.pdf), thank you our Samaritan! God highlighted the lesson of “ask, seek, knock” to this pair of a mother and a son, for things that are good, inspiring, and matter, we must do our best. Inside the Basilica, we also observed that there were few empty seats, perhaps they are for back-ups or some people did not bother to come since the tickets cost no money.

[7] Since La Sagrada Familia is the most visited attraction of Barcelona, it is advisable to buy a ticket in advance. I prefer to visit the Nativity Tower over the Passion Tower as of 20170317. The ticket of either tower will grant a visitor entry one hour before the scheduled time s/he booked. Note that for safety reasons, children younger than 6 cannot go up the towers.

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2 comments

  1. […] also remembers the lesson given by his favorite architect Antoni Gaudí i Cornet: I will never give […]

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  2. […] I am dreaming of creating my magnum opus as inspired by Gaudi and Little Prince who adores him, I dream of a cozy den of […]

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