Friday, January 25, 2008

Do you see what I see?

Some people go to Rome and shop.
Some people go to Rome and eat.
I go to Rome and visit churches. Museums. Coffee shops.
I go to Rome and check out statues. Fountains. Altars to peace.
Here are a few statues that caught my attention this trip.

Do you see the tiny baby Jesus image that the priest is holding? Apparently, it had been on display since before Christmas. On January 6th, the day that the arrival of the wise men is celebrated, this image was going to be put away until next Christmas. At the end of the mass that evening, the congregants were invited to come to the front and kiss it, touch it, and bid farewell. For weeks they had sung, "Venite, adoremus" - come let us adore Him. They had worshipped and adored. On my last night in Rome, we bid farewell to The Baby.

In a few months, the season of Lent will be upon us. The forty days of preparation before the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. Solemn. Reflective. Sorrowful. Michelangelo's Pieta in the Vatican - there are no words to adequately describe the emotions that I felt when I stood there in front of that statue. Her sorrow. The death of her son. The death of her hopes. Her dreams. Her beliefs about who He was.

I wish I could say I never had doubts.
I suppose I could say it - but it would be a lie.
Far more often than most people would imagine, I think:
"I thought you were the one..."
"I thought you were different."
"I thought you would outlive me. What happened?"
"How did I end up like this - holding my heart and faith in my hands,
both appearing lifeless?"

It's far too easy to ignore beggars. To avoid eye contact with peddlers of junk on the street. The best defense is simply to turn away. When I first saw this statue, I did just that: I turned away. Then the hole in His hand caught my eye.
And I remembered: "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do it unto Me."
And I wondered: How many dozens of people, beggars, travelers, even friends, have I turned away from when they reached out and asked for help?


Amy said...


I think about the same thing daily, actually more than ever now. How well have I carried out Christ's commssion to serve the poor, those in prison, etc.?
Not very well, I'm afraid. Thank you for this beautiful post and that reminder!

Ella said...

I think this is normal thought. I think Christ disciples represent us all in some way... each in His inner circle.

He knows our hearts. Those we can help we should. A few coins tossed into a beggar hands- - I've not always given them at stop lights or other places at times.

It isn't up to us judge, but I don't think we've have done that. I think it "so common place" these days to see beggars. They are practically everywhere one goes. It can make anyone complacent because it's seen daily. But we are imperfect beings.

I'm the worst "Doubting Thomas" at times(trust me on this one). Searching ones heart and soul in such troubled times is difficult for us all if we care and love God.

Everyone has their moments and struggles with faith. I've said a few things staring outside my kitchen window to God at times crying. I'm sure He thinks, "Did I actually hear you say that." I've actually said, "Hey buddy, I didn't ask to come here."

Times have changed and it's more difficult and our churches whom we also rely to help met those needs of the poor sometimes even fall short with all their resources at hand.

You have blessed many. Your words and photos are blessing for those if us who are ill and can't travel. They serve as a reminder to all. Never underestimate that. God uses us all in different ways.

Blessings my friend, all blessings.

Natalia said...
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giovanna said...

i love the pieta... :) thanks for reminding me of how much i love italia. and Jesus.

Lisa said...

Powerful images. An amazing sculpture.

It's a matter of getting over ourselves and our "stuff" and our agendas - and realizing (in our hearts) that we're all connected.

So much passes through our lives each day. Do we have the eyes to really see it?

For me, the journey of authenticity and simplicity frees up space to allow for a new vision of the world.

Thank goodness God is faithful and patient with us!

Shelby said...

always amazing here..

happy Sunday :)