Wednesday, December 3
In Rome, you might stand or kneel within a church built on the home of an ancient martyr. Perhaps the church contains that martyr’s remains and truly bears the martyr’s memory, which has strengthened the faithful in carrying their own crosses for centuries.Do head over and read the whole thing. There is some really lovely and thought-provoking prose by herself, along with some poignant quotes from Pope Benedict and Gregory Nazianzen.
But there is a good chance that this same church was built by, expanded by or decorated by a wealthy Cardinal with a mistress or two and some sins for which to atone. The gorgeous art, resonant and powerful in its portrayal of Calvary, might have come from the hands of an artist with little or no faith to speak of, doing what he had to do for the commission. You are walking on paths that were stained by the blood of bishop martyrs and then paved by the edict of bishop rulers. St. Francis walked here in bare feet. Catholic aristocracy were carried above the muck, flattered by clergy as they handed out bread to the poor and paid the dowries of impoverished girls.
What, in that mess, do we reject? What do we accept? What is pure enough for us?
And, if you're in need of a Rome Fix (and who isn't?), the past week or so has been full of tourist/pilgrim blogging over there.