Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tree of Life

More From Germany: Mad Ludwig

When most people think of Ludwig II of Bavaria, the think of this:

Neuschwanstein is one of the most visited castles in Europe and we experienced that first hand with lines to buy tickets over 100 yards long.  Needless to say we avoided that and went to the place he lived most of his adult life.

That place is Linderhof.

 Set back in the Bavarian Alps, the home was a 2-3 days journey from anywhere of consequence in the late 19th century.  Ludwig did that on purpose because he did not want to be anywhere near the center of power in Munich.

He dreamed of the "good of days" of royalty in Europe and tried to emulate the great kings of France.  Linderhof was specifically designed to look like Versailles, albiet on a much smaller scale.  The interior rooms were in the same style.  A unusual example was the "mirror room".  In this room, the mirrors had the effect of making the room look like one of a endless hallways of Versailles.  The illusion made the room look immense.  Even his view out of of the front door had a distinct Versailles look.

Ludwig was a catholic and had a small chapel built for his personal use. 

A short hike from the main house was  the Moorish kiosk. 

The interior of this building was very ornate.

 Ludwig was also the patron of the composer Wagner.  He was so obsessed with Wagner's work that he built a scene from one of Wagner's Operas in a cave above Linderhof Castle.

Ludwig does have the reputation for being insane.  To me I felt sorry for this man who dreamed of a time when he would have been treated as above the common man; that he was special both to the people and to God.   The reality of it all must have been too much for him to take.

Regardless, Linderhof is a beautiful property and worth a stop if you ever take a trip to Bavaria.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Reformation and Rococo

One of the joys of our trip to Germany this past summer was learning about the evolution of church styles from the Dark Ages to the Reformation.  After a two day history lesson in Cologne (which one day I will get back to) we headed to Bavaria.  This part of Germany was the front lines during the protestant reformation.  Bavaria was strongly Catholic, but was just next door to one of the centers of protestant power (Augsburg). 

We were told that we must visit a small church tucked away in an isolated meadow in Bavaria.   It was called the Wiess Kirche. 

 The origins of this church goes back to 1738 when a statue of the "scourged Jesus" was seen to cry during evening prayers.  From that time, the small town of Wies became a center for pilgrimage for Catholics from all over Europe.  Upon approval by the local ordinary, the chapel was built in 1740.

What we saw when we entered the church as literally "out of this world"

The interior of the chapel exploded with color.  It was as if you have entered the heavenly realm. Considered one of the most important examples of Rococo art in the world, it has been placed on the UNESCO list of Cultural Heritage Buildings. 

But for Catholics, it is a example of how we have attempted to express our beliefs in the buildings we build.  It is also a reaction to the protestant movement towards simplicity and austerity.  This church is certainly a bold reaction to that.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Eucharistic Prayer

A Eucharistic Prayer

A wonderful reflection on one of the eucharist prayers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The New Missal

It seems our brothers and sisters in England and Wales have already begun using the New Missal.  If you would like to hear the New Mass, go HERE.