You find yourself driving around, visiting various places. I do this alot. I also like to go into any Catholic church I can set my eye on. I will pray, and then judge the orthodoxy (forgive me!). Sometimes you can tell by looking at the outside of a church wether it's orthodox or progressive, but not always. I go in, pray, look around.
I love it when I walk into a church (visibly orthodox from the outside), and see beautiful stained glass windows, gorgeous statues, an astounding sanctuary, tabernacle on the ad orientum altar. The Lady Chapel proudly displayed with a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin. The Adoremus hymnal, or St. Basils Hymnal, in the pews. Kneelers, prie dieu. Imagine, walking into a church, and seeing a 12 year boy child praying the Rosary! Kneeling at the Lady altar! Thats what orthodoxy gets you!
However, what disturbs me is when I walk into a supposedly "catholic" church, and then get confuse...because I think I am in a Protestant church! "Welcome to the Praise Catholic Community"! Though I have never seen a church called this, I wouldn't be surprised if I did. Anyhow, I see tabernacles with Our Lord at the side, or at the back of the church! Oh, how clichè! Then I see felt banners with "Jesus Loves EVERYONE" written on them. Pictures of the parishioner of the year pasted in the "porch", and the Glory & Praise hymnal in plain view.
You see, the aesthestics also has something to do with the mood it sets people in. The aesthetics and decorations put people into a solemn, and prayerful mood. Our Lord! Our Lord is present in the tabernacle! In the church! Does he not deserve the most beautiful of beauty? His Blessed Mother looks down and is crying with joy for the beauty which her son is being given! Our Lady, the Mother of God, deserves beautiful statues! Beautiful churches! Beautiful rosaries! Beautiful vestments for the statues! Our Lady, the Mother of Christ. This is the month of May! Statues of Our Lady are now full of flowers, with a glorious, beautiful crown upon her pure head! She is Gods handmaid! Her SON is present in the church! Our Lord! Jesus Christ! Does he not deserve the most beautiful churches? We worship our Lord in the Eucharist! Worship to God, and to God alone!
What about simplicity? The Carmelites have a simplicity, that is so beautiful, and you can tell of their holiness. The Franciscans, have a beautiful simplicity! Just by dressing simply, modestly, we send a message that we will nto be tempted by the Devil, and that we are for God! Simplicity is beauty, also.