Walking Into Glory: A Lesson in Faithfulness

St. Peter’s, Rome ~ February 26th, 2008

Standing

on the Rock the Church was built on

the Rock that still holds her up

after two thousand years of blood and tears and toil.

Enfolded in the arms of a Mother

forever reaching out and gathering in

I am home: thousands of miles from the place I was born

and the location of my family.

An unknown and yet familiar home:

that I am seeing for the first time and yet belonged to first.

Descending

miles beneath the earth,

into second century burial grounds

breathing in the damp, cold smell of ancient stone and clay

And the Faith of generations, who didn’t crumble

in the face of persecution.

Walking in the footsteps of those who risked their lives

to bury here in honor

the father who had birthed them into

A life that never ends.

Trembling

in the face of a reality, a person

too incredible to believe in

and yet too real to disbelieve.

Standing in the shrine

built by an Emperor

to honor the humble Fisherman named Rock

by the Son of God.

And my heart is crumbling

before the power of God

using simple, human instruments

to realize the Truth of His own Word:

to build His Church upon this Rock.

Walking

through the tangible, touchable glory

of God, enfleshed by his children

in a living memorial of stone, and glass and gold.

Solid, unmoving, through years

speaking to all generations:

“We belong to the One Who made the mountains firm,

and Who gives beauty its’ name.”

And I feel at once like a drop being lost

in the vastness of this ocean of the Church’s beating heart.

Kneeling

Like a lost child stumbling

upon the unknown home

I never knew I had here waiting.

At once lost in vastness and finding myself.

And I’m swept into the current planted

in the heart of a fisherman hanging on a cross

which continues to thunder down through the ages,

sweeping us with him into the arms

of the Shepherd for love of Whom he died.

Standing on my mother’s lap

descending into my own foundation

trembling before the one who birthed me

walking into the heart of my home

kneeling within the current of the Church’s life

so much bigger than me

and yet making me all I am.

“Peter is here,”

this place of glory still proclaims the message

etched in second century stone,

and it will carry it proudly through the ages.

For he is still here:

not thanks to the greatness of the fisherman,

but to the faithfulness of the Shepherd Who called.

And this is why we come,

and this is why we hope

because we too, belong to the Shepherd Who fulfills His promises.

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