He was a blend of Einstein, Salvador Dali and Leonardo DaVinci. He sculpted buildings, carved out of his imagination, into works of art. Born in Catalonia, Spain, the son of a coppersmith, Antoni Gaudí became one of the most famous architects of all time. He was eccentric; as a young man he became fascinated with utopian socialism and had a deep connection with nature and his Mediterranean background. He once stated, “We own the image. Fantasy comes from the ghosts. Fantasy is what people in the North own. We are concrete. The image comes from the Mediterranean. Orestes knows his way, where Hamlet is torn apart by his doubts.”
One of Gaudí’s most famous buildings is the Sagrada Familia, Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, located in Barcelona. Other notable works include Casa Batllo, Palau Güell and the Park Güell.
As a professional architect he went from one success to the next but his personal life wasn’t without tribulation. As a young boy he suffered from poor health which eventually led him to become a vegetarian. Gaudí was also know for being shy and reserved, which some interpreted later in life, as unsociable and proud; but his journey was marked by great personal losses. The youngest boy in the family, two of his siblings would never make it into adulthood; his mother passed away at the age of 57 and his brother at just 25 years old; in 1910 he almost lost his own life while suffering with tuberculosis; then, in the several years that followed, death took his remaining family, and his friends; in 1915 the economic downturn completely halted all the work on his most renowned project – The Sagrada Familia. It was at this point in his life when he remarked: “My good friends are dead; I have no family and no clients, no fortune nor anything. Now I can dedicate myself entirely to the Church.”
Much like Gaudí, God is the architect of our own lives when we come to a place of surrender. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins on the Cross, be buried and rise on the third day. God’s desire was not just to bring salvation, but also sanctification. His plan and vision is far above what any of us can comprehend. As glorious and grandiose as the Sagrada Familia is – the Almighty is building us, his living stones, into a temple, a royal priesthood. Just as Gaudí molded like clay beautiful structures from the wheel of his imagination, God is molding his children into the image of Christ, His Son. Sometimes the process is painful: as the stones need to be filed down, the rough edges smoothed out, sections completely chiseled out of the picture. But in the end, it’s worth the trouble; for the result is nothing less than miraculous.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it,” (Hebrews 12:11).
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 2:5).
God is the good architect. Though sometimes the process of being built-up can sometimes feel difficult; He always has our best interest at heart. He knows what lies ahead and He knows how to make you stronger. Trust God to lay a firm foundation and a house that will stand the test of time.