Saturday Oct 12
Day 9 in Rome
Perhaps I have been too worried about finding the right place to eat. There seems to be a formula for finding a good restaurant in Rome:
Step 1: Find a restaurant.
Step 2: Eat there.
At least, this has worked for me.
When I get back, I will be facing brown rice, tofu and chicken breasts.
People trying to sell tours of the Vatican museum paint such horror stories of waiting in line trying to get a ticket. The wait was just about an hour, and then 16 Euros and I’m in and free to wander.
There is so much art here. I’m not focusing so much on information as taking in the beauty.
Many, many picture and carvings focused on telling the story, mostly Biblical stories, though some of later saints. Beauty was put in the service of impressing the Christian story on people’s minds and hearts.
I’m very glad I took the tour of the Vatican Museum, and I’m very glad I came back by myself.
Such an investment in the telling of stories.
Relationships are communicated in stories. A large part of knowing people is knowing their stories.
How well do we know the stories of our faith?
Those who know the stories will recognize the images:
The sacrifice of Isaac
The bronze serpent in the desert
St. Lawrence (with grill)
St. Peter (keys)
St. Paul (book and sword)
Bartholomew (knife and empty skin)
Coronation of Mary.
There are some pictures of contemporary Church figures with Biblical Saints and some pictures of Bible stories with the characters wearing contemporary clothing surrounded by contemporary architecture (contemporary with the artists, not the Biblical figures). This shows that the Bible stories are timeless, as well as rooted in a specific historical time, and we are a part of the story.
Why does the Vatican Museum have ancient Egyptian art, so many Greek and Roman statues including Emperors and pagan gods?
To share the Gospel story we must be lovers of the human story, for the story of the universe is the story of salvation, and if we are to share the human story with the human race, we must know the human story. There are some things, however, that work against the project.
Hundreds of the Greek and Roman statues have inscribed in bold red letters “Munificent Pio VI PM” or something like that. It is either someone seeking to butter up the pope or the pope himself feeding his own voracious ego. Either way, it is not good.
There seem to be two basic errors when encountering the Gospel story:
- I am not part of the story, or
- The story is about me.
In St. Peter’s square there are so many references to Alexander VII. Of course, when you are pope in the middle ages or renaissance, the temptation to think “It’s all about me” must be enormous.
Raphael did some good stuff. I especially liked his transfiguration and coronation of Mary,
but best of all was one room, on one side The School of Athens, and on the other, Disputation on the Holy Sacrament, actually about the triumph of the belief in the Real Presence. My response is: “I want one.” Ah, well.
Could never take enough pictures here. Thank heavens for the internet.
Psalm for today: 115