Skip to main content

The Colorful Stained-Glass Windows and the Beauty We Must See in All Religions

If you are a Catholic, you might have been noticing those stained-glass windows from inside and outside the church. Typically, stained-glasses are the different colors of glasses in that window, ceiling, doors, and altar. What an art, right? Well, if you look closer, there are images of Jesus Christ’s life and sometimes that story of how the church or cathedral was built in the locality. And, aren’t they beautiful?


The intention of this post is not to promote Catholicism or speak against other religions. I believe every religion has a beauty in it, specifically, with the building structures be it a temple, synagogue, mosque, kingdom hall, worship place, house of worship, or whatever the religious organization calls it. And when it comes to beauty, nothing compares to the beauty of the fact that people believes in the existence of God.

Although I don’t have images of other religion’s worship places to share, what I really want to share in this post is the fact that there is something beautiful in believing in God.

Let me begin by sharing my short experience talking with certain non-Catholic people distributing free magazines in the street of the Philippines. They are the Jehova’s Witnesses. I am not to discuss what their religion is about for I know you can instantly search it online. My experience with them is that I used to ask copies of their reading materials and try to figure out what are written in there. Plainly speaking, they encourage us to know God and that is beautiful.

About a decade ago, when I first visited Baguio City in the Philippines, I was handed by several booklets by our Muslim brothers. Truth is, I have not read them for several years until I got this time and courage to open those books. The books explain how the Islam as a religion works, what they believe into, and simply state – they encourage us to believe in God they call Allah. And that is beautiful.

Then I happen to read the entire Christian bible or holy scripture just a few years back. I realized that many religions use this book. Then I become interested in understanding the beliefs of other religions by watching videos online, exploring websites, and asking questions to friends who have different religions than mine. I would say, there is no problem or even regret in making an effort to understand what others believe in. And if its about reading the Bible, there is absolutely a beauty in doing it. I learned, so to speak.




When I visited Singapore and Malaysia, I visited some of the worship houses there of our Buddhist and Hindu brothers and sisters. That Chinese culture of burning papers and incense, it is quite unique and seeing them doing these made me understand a little bit more of Buddhism. All I can say is that, if it’s about the architecture of their worship buildings, they are really beautiful in many ways.











Then I became fascinated with how Judaism works. Many of us probably knows the sad stories of the Jews during World War I. And that the Philippines was one of the countries who welcomed refugees trying to escape the Holocaust. I tried looking deeper into their religion by watching videos and reading a website that explains Judaism. Judaism as a religion is beautiful.

I have Filipino and foreign friends whom are Born Again Christian, Protestant, and Buddhist. The religion doesn’t matter if its about conversation of how life has been. And this is something that puzzles me, on why religion doesn’t matter at all when we talk about our life as human beings living in this planet. I met Muslims selling stuff on the markets near my place. I meet Buddhists in China Town. I talked to Hindus living in India. That respect of belief always prevails, and while there might be differences in prayers and rituals, it all goes well if it’s about friendship at work and neighborhood in the community.

Going back to the stained-glasses, I believe these were chosen to be components of the Catholic church’s architecture for a more meaningful reason. We church-goers may have been appreciating the design or beauty but in some ways, do we really know what are they for? Does it invite us to get to know more something about our faith in God?



Based on my research, stained-glass windows have been there since the 1100’s. Installed mostly on Cathedrals, the glass art actually have two main purposes: first is to add interior and exterior beauty and second is to serve as an educational tool. When beams of sunlight pass thru the colored window, the colorful reflection delights worshipers in beauty. The windows showing scenes in the Bible is a visual aid in teaching children and learners alike. That is the beauty of Catholicism.



This kind of art and the arts seen on different worship buildings of many religions remind us that faith of humanity in God or the Creator is characterized with beauty, style and elegance. It is quite obvious that whether it is Hinduism, Judaism, Catholicism, Christianity, or Islam, the worship buildings are built with amazing architecture and wonderful artistry – our ways as humans to show our deepest and sincerest respect to the God we believe in.

I am a Filipino Catholic by religion, direct to God by faith, but deep inside of me is that highest respect to all religions. It is just timely that the Christian world is celebrating the Christmas season when I wrote this post and the symbolisms of Christ’s coming can be seen almost everywhere. Decorations, lanterns, lights, and images are found on streets, homes, shopping malls, churches, vehicles, and buildings.

But the stained-glass windows are always there and whenever I entered our worship buildings here in the Philippines, those colorful glasses reminds me that I have a God who allows beauty to shine upon me, His believer.



I believe that people of any kind of faith also have this kind of beauty they want to share to people outside their faith’s foundation. If stained-glasses are from the Catholic cathedrals, maybe the beautiful carpets inside the Mosque, wall paintings in the Buddhist temple, the art and images in a Hindu temple, and even the angelic voices inside a Christian’s holy place; these are the beauty of other religions and regardless of faith, we have the senses to appreciate them when we travel and been to these sacred worship places. And that is beautiful.

Christmas, like the stained-glass, is about beauty of Christianity. It is a celebration of faith and at the same time a sign of sharing the beauty inside a Christian’s heart to anyone regardless of race, culture, belief, or religion. When Muslims celebrate Ramadan, we respect the beauty they want to enshrine upon us. When the Chinese New Year is here, a festival celebrated around the world, we are delighted with how they pay respect to their Gods and Goddesses.

May this post serve as an inspiration to many of us, whatever our religion might be, to see the beauty in faith rather than show hatred in others’ beliefs. Religions should not divide us. Instead, it should be a way to exchange good ideas about life, that in our differences, there is something beautiful that we can learn from each other. Respect others belief and they will respect you back. Like me, you can always look at your religion’s versions of the stained-glasses and see the beauty in it.


About this Post
I wrote this post as a gesture of saying "Merry Christmas" to all. 2017 has been very challenging for me and my wife yet we managed to survive. My faith in God really works. Somehow, those pains and sorrows were alleviated. Somehow, with prayers, good things still comes in. Whatever is your foundation of faith, keep in trusting your God. That will definitely make a big difference in your life.

This would be final blog for this year. Thanks for reading my posts. See you next year for more meaningful blog articles in this website and on my educational website, www.knowriel.com. God bless us all in the coming year 2018!

Comments

Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines

At the turn of the millennium, the Philippine government launches this campaign program calling the overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as “Mga Bagong Bayani ng Bayan” (Modern Heroes of the Nation). From then onwards, different organizations established programs giving awards and recognitions to selected OFWs who did a remarkable contribution or action to their family, friends, work or in general, to the country.


OFW ka ba?Bakit?Eh kasi dating mo pa lang, mayaman ka na. Boom! 
(Are you an OFW? Why? Because with just the way look, it seems that you’re rich. Boom!)

My Cousin Dado as an OFW in South Korea 

At present, OFWs around the world are estimated to be around 12 – 14 million. This is approximately 10 – 12 percent of the Philippines total population. These OFWs are distributed on many countries all over the globe majority of whom are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy. Immigrant workers in the United States, Australia and Eu…

The Divisoria Malls - Defining Shopping in the Philippines

They call it the 168 Mall. It is one of the busiest places in the Philippines during shopping days like Christmas season when longing for enjoyment and relaxation is on the air once again. From Cavite, my home place, going to Divisoria, it will take you about an hour travel under normal traffic flow.

What is in this place? Well, Divisoria is the Bargain Shopping Capital of the Philippines. This is where wholesale and retail prices make shoppers say “WOW!” on delight. Visiting this place will definitely give you a realization about shopping on a different dimension. Find out why on the next paragraphs.

On the Photo: The Popular 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila, Philippines


Divisoria is located in Binondo, Manila. It is accessible via Quiapo(where the famous Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church is) thru Recto Avenue and via Lawton near Manila City Hall. Divisoria has been there since the early 90’s. As it is near the North Harbour, Manila’s main seaport, the freshest and cheapest products usuall…

The 100 Million Filipinos and Our Basic Rights in the Philippines

We have the right to education, healthcare, security, good services and affordable quality products, among others. But do we understand really the extent of our rights to these things as a Filipino citizen? And our duty to abide by the laws of the land and to promote democracy, are we aware of that? Our privilege or special right to something, do we care about it?




It was Abraham Lincoln, former president of the United States of America, who in one of his speeches said this:


“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


I remember these same words quoted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in one of his speeches. That was long time ago, during his first-year term I believe. While I cannot remember what the event was, what is clear to my mind until today is that he’s fulfilling at his capacity and political will the meaning of that statement.


The Philippine Government of the People, by the People, for the People
Let me translate th…

Our "Kapitan Eddie Panganiban", 1959 - 2018: Our Good Tatay, Our Masipag na Kapitan

This blog post is in memory of Kapitan Eddie Panganiban who lost his life as a good public servant, a kind father to his barangay, a person who cares for the benefit of everyone.

Who is Kapitan Eddie?
Kapitan Eddie is the chief captain of barangay Panghayaan, Taysan, Batangas in the Philippines. A big part of his life was spent as a public servant, from councilor to chieftain. Earning recognition and applause from people who knows him from the inside and out, our beloved kapitan is known for his kindness and care among his constituents. He is known to help people in need. His significant projects and personal actions in his baranggay are exceptional, always sided for the benefit of the masses. On December 22, 2018, he was brutally killed in his residence. Many expressed their disbelief in the incidence. The life of a good kapitan was just taken that quick.

Allow me to share this short story of how Kapitan Eddie was able to extend his help to my personal life.

When I got diagnosed with a…

Great Reasons Why You Should be Proud to be Pinoy Today

Yes, we live in a poor country. We walk up and sleep in a country with high unemployment rate, low quality of life, high crime incidence, rampant corruption in the government, unsolved traffic issues, high poverty and so on and so forth. We are residing in a country where there are New People’s Army, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf Group and plenty of other leftists doing harm to the nation’s freedom and sovereignty. Many of our rivers, oceans and lands are totally polluted – some are dead. Our streets are flooded with criminals, kidnappers, snatchers, drug addicts, drug pushers and tons of other bad elements invading our liberty. In remote areas around the country, there are children walking barefoot, on their empty stomach and with unconditioned mind and body just to taste the education which their parents were forced to believe that “poverty is not a hindrance to education” – but is not. We experience over and over again the fury of strong typhoons leaving us billion-wort…

A Visit to Chinatown in the City of Manila

Chinatown, Manila, the Philippines - January 29, 2012

We missed the opportunity to see Chinese New Year celebration in Manila last Janaury 23, 2012 so I and my wife decided to go here in Chinatown 6 days after. Actually, we have no any plan of going here and go buy jewelries at the popular Ongpin Street where Chinatown is also popular about. It was just a what-you-see-is-what-you-get tour and my main intention is to actually capture different angles of the town as well as of the scattered items with Chinese traceability. Take a look on these first few photos that I took.

On the Photos: The China Town "Welcome" Street Structure



We walked straight from Quiapo Church going to Binondo Church via the famous Ongpin Street. This could really be the highlight of Chinatown primarily because on everywhere you look, there is something about Chinese that can be seen. Even the posts, the establishment names and the advertisement banners are in Chinese language. It was our first time to reac…

Sidewalk Vendors

You’ll often see them. You’ll buy from them. But when they become part of the news, you’ll get to hate them – some of you. They are people like us who simply wants to earn a living. They have a family to feed. This is the business they call “marangal” (dignified). And we call them…
Sidewalk Vendors

Let me define what (or should I say “who”) a sidewalk vendor is.

Here in the Philippines, there is a notion that if you’re a sidewalk vendor, you mostly likely belong to the lower class of the society. For one reason, why sell on the sidewalks or streets of Metro Manila and other cities if you can sell on approved places particularly the market. For another, selling in the street on a daily basis is a risky activity – you’re prone to illnesses, effects of air pollution, dangers from vehicles passing by, and unsafe condition of your store or shop.

In a third-world country where job opportunities are scarce for people with lower educational attainment, there is no reason to doubt that poor people…

The Solutions to the Problems in the Philippines – an Appeal for Help from People Like You

If I would become the political adviser of the Philippine president, I would propose to him solutions on how to resolve the problems and issues happening in this country. But if I would not become one, I will continue to become an adviser if not to the president then to the people.

Manila, Philippines


There are hundreds of problems the government of the Philippines is facing today and even in the past. Some of them can be considered solved while some are not. Some problems are recurring while others are permanent and therefore the solutions are only temporary. However, it is worth commending on how the current government is responding to the needs of time of the Filipino people.
The rise of the Philippine Stock Exchange index is a valid proof that several economic measures are taking effect. The legal measures are showing results in the sense that the fight against corruption is not a “ningas-kugon” platform. The call for peace in Mindanao is on-going despite of the threats against it. B…