What once drove men to construct enormous abbeys and cathedrals, with gargoyles, rounded arches, rose windows, dark recesses, and flying buttresses?
In the modern imagination, these structures are believed to tell a series of stories about the meaning of life, but this anachronism would have astounded their medieval creators. As he explores two of the finest churches of this period – the Abbey of Mont St-Michel on the Normandy coast, and soaring Chartres Cathedral in the fields of the Loire Valley – author Jon Sweeney comes to the conclusion that, without faith, they make no sense at all. But within a life of faith, the universe that includes them is marvelous, beautiful, mysterious, and tapped into something that secularism cannot fathom.
This luminous series of reflections hinges on seven words of Gothic spirituality — space, sanctuary, stone, light, darkness, gargoyles, and flight — and shows us that beauty is not just for admiring, but a key to believing, and reveals how the vision of our medieval forebears can refresh and inspire our faith today.