Standing high on the Buda Hills which dot the Buda side of the city of Budapest, Matthias Church with its beautiful towering steeples, whilst severely damaged during World War II and subsequently restored, represents the beauty of Gothic architecture dating back to the 14th century. Matthias Church is also an important symbol of the history of Hungary and the Roman Catholic faith of the Hungarians.
As I stepped slowly inside the Church, I was gradually consumed by a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Not only was this a feeling due to the environment I was in, but also an internal Light lit up inside me that remained with me the entire duration of the High Mass. The church was packed with mostly local people of various ages from young children to the aged and fragile. Of course, as you would expect, the service was in Hungarian, a language I am yet to learn.
As the service continued on, the internal Light in me got stronger and I felt the presence of God in the middle of the Church. We praised and worshipped Him with our hymns as if the singing of the church choir had joined with the voices of the angels in heaven. He touched everyone of us who were in the Church. The Holy Spirit spoke to me during the service showing me the beauty of His creation, and His blessings on His children over generations. It was as if all of us who were at the service were sitting at the table with our Lord whose love has triumphed over all things by His death and resurrection.
As the Mass was concluding, and people beginning to leave the church, a large group of young children came running from the back of the Church, down the main aisle heading towards the alter where the Priest was standing with his arms wide open, a gentle smile on his face waiting for the little ones. As I watched this beautiful sight, I wondered if spiritually during the service was I one of His children running towards God, our Father.
As a country, Hungary suffered terribly from major events of the 20th century including World War I, World War II, and the subsequent occupations. Such hardship caused by the fascist and the communists appears to be still etched in the memory of the older generation. The pain of those times can still be felt via their unspoken facial expressions. Sitting among the congregation, I told myself that it was their faith in Christ that carried the Hungarians through these seasons. And now I am witnessing their faith having been passed onto their next generation. I treasure this experience of being in God’s presence among other brothers and sisters in Christ, who worship in a different language, in a beautiful Church with historical significance. We all united in the presence of God.
This experience has also added to my faith journey in seeing and admiring more deeply the beauty of God’s creation. As cities grow larger and larger, the backdrop of nature still remains in all of its beauty. As we admire famous paintings, the colours of every sunset and sunrise are unique and skilfully painted by our Master. As I watch the sun rising and setting over the Danube River as it winds its way through Budapest, I am in awe of the Creator.
My faith journey has shown me that God is present and speaks to us. And I believe that He also listens. As I am writing this, my heart rejoices as I am telling Him that I appreciate His creation and am declaring His love, mercy and faithfulness.