Day 4 in Rome
Went to an ATM machine, and was very grateful to push 2 for English. I am glad they are hospitable to those who have not mastered the language.
Took a tour of the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel. Lots of good info, but wondered what I missed. Just left on our own in the Basilica. I will come again.
That said, it was wonderful. The court of the Pine Cone with the seed of new life referring to the mysteries of the universe was powerful.
The Sistine Chapel was an irreplaceable experience. Such vivid colors. I’m so glad they cleaned it up. The conclaves were held there. The Second Vatican Council met there. I stood there. Wow. (They wouldn’t let us take pictures, but pictures are readily available on line).
The images are timeless.
It was build when Michelangelo was born as a fortress in case of invasion of Muslim hordes. Michelangelo made it come to life with the story of the universe.
They had a double spiral staircase that was really interesting.
The Basilica of St. Peter is like nothing else. The Cathedral in Cologne is huge and impressive but cannot match this magnificence.
There are huge statues, some of earlier and medieval figures, some of relatively modern (John Bosco and St. Vincent de Paul). Inspiration to learn more about some, like St. Bruno. There are also huge mosaics but you can’t tell they are mosaics without looking very closely. There is the Tomb of Blessed John Paul II.
There we see the body of Blessed John XXIII in a glass case (he looks pale, but pretty much like you’d see at an average wake).
Many events of the Christian story are being told, and others hinted at. This is just a tiny sampling of the vast ocean of stories of the people, through the ages, who kept the Gospel story going.
When I first walked into St. Peter’s, on the right was the Pieta of Michelangelo. I thought, “Oh, yah, I’ve seen a bunch of those.”
“Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, this is the real one!”
On the front wall is a great sculpture of a chair. Of course, this is a great celebration of the Chair of Peter. For all the gallons of cynical ink spilled on the subject, if our faith is true in any sense, the Chair of Peter is a gift from God, and therefore worthy of celebration.
It is said to contain fragments of the simple wooden chair of Peter. Did he have an official chair? Very possibly; it was a custom far older than Christianity for a teacher to sit in a chair that was a sign of his authority.
There is a niche for another statue. Maybe for Saint John Paul II? Who would be more likely than him? I bet that a big bunch of people would be willing to donate to the project.
Oct 7 is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Prayer for today: Joyful mysteries of the rosary, reflecting on God’s call to continue passing on the story.