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My Amsterdam Experience


The 800 year old Oude Kerk ("old church") is Amsterdam’s  oldest building and oldest parish church,  founded ca. 1213 and finally consecrated in 1306 Via Wikipedia

The 800 year old Oude Kerk (“old church”) is Amsterdam’s
oldest building and oldest parish church,
founded ca. 1213 and finally consecrated in 1306
Via Wikipedia

One morning in Amsterdam, Holland, I detrained in the Central Railroad Station and walked out through its doors into the busy square.  Electric trolley cars piled up and down the many avenues leading to the square.  Later in the day I would board one of them for a quick trip around this famous city where Anne Frank lived during World War II.

In the distance, several blocks away, a tall church spire lifted itself up to the gray, dark sky.  In my mind, this would be the first goal I would seek out.  Dodging the trolley cars and the fast moving automobiles, I set out across the many thoroughfares to visit this church, so close to the center of the city’s activities.

This could be an especially exquisite place of worship, an enduring memory to carry away with myself from this old Dutch city of Amsterdam.  I had set my expectations high.  Finally I arrived at the front of the church.  Only four steps led from the sidewalk to the front door.

Across the entrance way ran a badly scarred metal picket fence.  Loose papers, broken bottles and other kinds of rubbish littered the steps of this once elegant entrance.  No one had used this church for years.

Sadly, I turned away and took the long walk back to the city square.  Many thoughts came to me.  A person’s soul resembles a church where God receives praise and honor.  If one could look into his inner spirit, would he see a breathtaking spectacle, a holy place brightly lit with prayer and holiness of life?  Would the steps be clean and freshly scrubbed from the frequent visits of this person into his inner spirit of prayer?

What picture does one’s soul present to God?  Does the Lord come upon this place of worship and, to His disappointment, see the dust and decay of neglect, the litter of bad habits cluttering the entrance way, the iron gates of a hardened heart no longer opening to God’s visits?

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

October 12, 2013 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Once again a great reminder, to often we let the dust of daily life clutter our souls, not seeking or even remembering Gods love, how much of a better place the world would be if even just occasionally we all dusted our souls off and let more of God in. With much respect, Debra Hurley

    Comment by Anonymous | October 12, 2013 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George! What a great post! I want to visit Amsterdam one day. I had never read the Diary of Anne Frank and when we visited Dachau concentration camp outside of Munich, I bought that book in their giftshop. It was so touching to read, yet so sad. I’d like to go and see where she lived. I love the analogy you drew between the deserted church and one’s soul. Beautiful! I hope that you are doing well these days. I’ve sent you a letter, should arrive soon! Tim is on the WA coast fishing – he’ll be back tonight. Praying for you daily! With much love, Nancy

    Comment by Nancy Westvang | October 13, 2013 | Reply

  3. What an incredible drawing…you have painted with your description Fr. George…a church & a soul…your words touch our hearts and remind us to keep our soul’s door open to His Love and Will each day of our lives. Thank you for all you do for us, His Sheep! God’s Blessings, Love & Grace, Marianne

    Comment by mcs | October 14, 2013 | Reply


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