Monday, January 13, 2014

Days 5 & 6

I am going to do a general synopsis of the past two days.

We have been to the Capitolino Museum and many beautiful museums, galleries, and churches. I will be honest & say I don't remember many of the names of the places, but they were all so beautiful.

In particular, today we went to one Church that took my breath away. The ceiling demonstrated Christ as a bright light with angels and people glowing in His light. Here is the amazing part: the artist went beyond just the main ceiling and spread it to the sides of the very top of the wall. Additionally, he painted on a very believable shadow from the light Jesus was casting. My description is awful but I hope you get the picture. It was wonderful.

Later, we went back to the Pantheon & got to see the beautiful sky in the big open dome. I continue to find it fascinating where the Catholic & old Roman god cultures have collided. So many temples like the Pantheon that were once dedicated to a roman god (or gods) are now churches for Jesus Christ.

As I was walking around these beautiful churches I realized something. These churches are beautiful & overwhelming. However, they will be like nothing compared to the glory we will find in heaven. What a wonderful thing to know.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rome Trip: Days 3&4

Day 3

Today we went to the Colloseum, the Roman Forum, and the Borghese Gallery.

You can almost feel the rich history in each of those places. Stepping into the Colloseum was like stepping into a history book except Much more interesting and I could touch the walls and columns myself.

There were many inscriptionsand carving in the walls including 3 very simple crosses. I find it amazing that the place that used to be used to torture & kill Christians has been made almost a Memorial for those people & a place to honor the faith. Such is true for much of Rome. What was once a pagan city full of idolatry & Persecution of Christians is now the place that has almost become the Christian (or at least Catholic) home.

Next, we went to the Roman Forum. It was quite beautiful as well. I find it fascinating how the culture behind the Roman gods integrated still into the faith here in Italy. Everything seemed to have some connection to Jupiter even in Christian faith settings. I guess it would be hard (and maybe even foolish) to erase & move on from that part of their history & culture. It is not like they are worshiped as gods anymore, but rather are symbols of power, stories, or simply heritage.

For example, we went to the Borghese Museum today. In it was a magnificent sculpture by Bernini depicting the story of Apollo & Daphne. The super short version is Apollo saw Daphne & fell in "love"(I use that word loosely here), but she did not love him too so tried to run away. In order to save her from being raped, her father transformed her into a beautiful Laurel Tree. The sculpture depicts her as she is being transformed right as Apollo has reached for her. She is beautiful and he looks amazingly stunned!

The point? Don't be fooled into following lustful desires. You may be surprised what you find when you do! So the gods? Of course not real.The moral lesson to be learned? Alive & well.

Day 4

The Vatican.

I need say no more! But I will anyway. However, I don't know what to say!

The are certain things so magnificent that there is no good way to describe them. Take the Sistine chapel for example.

Overwhelming. Amazing. Beautiful. I feel I should say more on the subject but all my words fall short.

However, I will continue my previous thought on how the merge of the Roman god culture & the Christian faith. There were many statues of Roman gods in the Vatican itself. Maybe it shouldn't have, but that surprised me!

How fascinating is it that the states commemorating the Roman gods sit In the same Museum for the faith & Jesus Christ. How interesting. Again, it is a huge part of the history & culture.

Another thing: I knew the Catholics have a huge amount of respect for Mary, but our tour guide made it sound like they believe she is sinless. Very interesting & strange to me. Does anyone know what is thu official Catholic belief on that? I would love to know.

Finally, we ended our day at the Pantheon after the sun had set. It was so grand and larger than life. It was so magnificent that it almost seemed unreal. Amazing.

I finally ended my evening with one of my best friends, a croissant, and a heavenly cappuccino. What a day.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rome Trip: Days 1&2

Days l and 2 felt like the same day so I am going to lump them together.

Day 1 we were on an airplane and day 2 we landed.Once we got on the bus we went on a driving tour through Rome with our tour guide. we got off a few times to look at churches. One in particular was incredible. It was the Santa Maria. It had beautiful Bernini sculptures and was more beautiful than I could possibly describe.  

We had the afternoon free so a group of us went walking around Rome. We ate delicious food and had some great gelato!  

The next few days we will be visiting the historic sites of Rome Including the Vatican. It's crazy to think that Peter & many other people in the Bible walked the same streets I will be walking the next few days. It's so humbling and brings a sense of connection to the fathers of our faith. When I go to the Vatican I will see the spot believed to be where Peter was crucified. Wow. Amazing that what was once a place of persecution for Christians is how a tiny country for the father of the Catholic church, God does work in mysterious ways! On a funny and similar note: our tour guide kept differentiating between "Christians" and "Protestants".  You know you're in a primary Catholic area when... :)

I'm so excited for what these next few days will bring.