Over Spring Break I was immensely blessed with the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. To say it was incredible is an understatement to the max.
Before even stepping foot on the bus, Matt Reisen told me,
“Caitlin, there better be at least one good blog post about this trip.”
I hope I do you proud, Matt.
It’s taken me approximately 72hrs to process my 9-day pilgrimage, and to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what all went down. But, here are some things I gathered from my trip to the Vatican, my Rome Sweet Home, Papa Benny’s place, Peter’s Pad, etc.
1. I love my German Shepherd, and he loves me
We didn’t attend a Wednesday Papal Audience because Papa was jetting off to Mexico and Cuba to be a straight up G, read more official text here.
But we did attend the Sunday Angelus. Oh man. Seeing that wonderfully holy man in his tiny window was amazing. Hearing him bless us in 6 different languages was unreal.
2. Catholic beats Pagan, always
Oh, this obelisk is used as a solar symbol that represented a vital flow between heaven and earth, a way of communicating to the divine (source)? Well, we are going to put a piece of the True Cross on top of it and dedicate the whole thing to Christ.
You guys used to use this giant red porphyry disk to christen emperors on, and no one else could stand on it? Well, Pope Leo III is going to crown Charlemagne on it in the year 800 and then put it in the entrance of St. Peter’s so that every single person who walks in will stand on it.
I could go on and on but the real point of this post is #3.
3. The Eucharist is the greatest gift ever given.
I’m that person who tries to touch art at museums. Signs say “Don’t Touch” you better believe I’m going to try to poke it. The Vatican is pretty picky about what you can and cannot touch. Art is set up high and protected by sharp fences, and saint tombs are encased in glass and often behind velvet ropes (which don’t stop anyone, let’s be real).
So as I’m crawling on my knees to get closer to St. Peter’s tomb (under the velvet rope), I start thinking about what I am allowed (and encouraged) to touch within our faith…the Euchartist. I receive God. I consume God. I am invited to take my Living God and eat Him.
Can we just talk about that? We’re going to because this is my blog post.
Let me drop some Catholic knowledge on you.
Dulia is a theological term we use for the honor and love we have for saints, hyperdulia is reserved for the unique veneration we have for our Blessed Mother (Queen of Saints/Angels/Heaven/Earth), and latria is the worship of God alone (more here). I love words and the power they have, in our faith especially. English is ridiculous because we use love for things like pizza and our families. We use worship for artists, musicians, and God. Ancient languages are legit because they distinguish different levels of affection, they clear up and set guidelines for what or who deserves greater levels of love.
With these three words we see that saints are honored, Mary receives more honor than saints, but only God is worshipped.
What’s the 1st Commandment? I am the Lord, your God, you shall have no other Gods besides me. So we’ve basically established that God is number one.
So can we talk about incredibly scandalous it is that we eat Him? In all His glory He has seperate terms, seperate rules for how we interact. He can seem like a far off, vengeful God, but then He looks at us and says, “Eat my flesh, drink my blood“.
We become fleshy, watery, unworthy tabernacles of His sacred body.
“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.” – St. John Chrysostom
The humility of God is unreal.
“For One in such a lofty position to stoop so low is a marvel that is staggering. What sublime humility and humble sublimeness, that the Lord of the Universe, the Divine Son of God, should stoop as to hide Himself under the appearance of bread for our salvation! Behold the humble way of God, my brothers. Therefore, do not hold yourselves to be anything of yourselves, so that you may be entirely acceptable to One Who gives Himself entirely to you.” –St. Francis of Assisi
“The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host.” Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
“No one should be upset. Think about the Eucharist!”Becca Smith-Vandergriff
I love you,