The Doors of Antigua

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When my children were little, I remember calendar countdowns to Christmas where they would open a “door” every day during Advent that would reveal some aspect of the season. Antigua is full of such doors. You never know what might be hiding behind each one!

There are long rows of buildings with non-descript doors that open up to reveal beautiful courtyards and gardens! There are gardens everywhere! Sometimes a door will open up to a small shop in cramped quarters, or an ice cream stand. Sometimes you would go through the door of a restaurant, thinking – what kind of a hole in the wall is this place? – only to have it open up to one room after another with tables sitting around courtyards, fountains, and again the gardens. And then there are all of the churches with elaborate doors and doors with wood carvings. And door knockers! Each door reveals a particular aspect of Antigua.

Two such doors are pictured above, from the hotel we stayed at while in Antigua. The photo book, La Antigua, Guatemala, by Thor Janson, features a number of these doors and door knockers. Reminders of a great trip and the fun of finding what was hidden behind them.

In the Catholic Church, we often refer to our sacraments as “doors to the sacred” – doors that open up some aspect of God or that reveal God’s presence. You open those doors and you never know what you are going to get as our God is a great mystery. Perhaps the greatest mystery of all is the one we celebrate this week, the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus breaks through the barrier of death, thereby opening that door for all who follow after him.

In the final book of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis has his characters leave Narnia through a door that leads them into another country, Aslan’s country, or heaven. I have a picture capturing this doorway in my office at home. The land the children are leaving is barren and wintry in comparison to the beautiful country they are entering. Above the doorway are the words, Don’t Look Back. It is a reminder to me of what God has in store for us.

During this life we walk through many doors. Some lead to more pleasant experiences than others. The final door is death. What lies behind it is a surprise. We never know what might be hiding behind this door; it is the greatest mystery yet. What we are experiencing now pales before what is yet to come.

What doors have opened or closed in your life?

Wishing all a blessed Easter!


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