“But there he was…” | Postcards from Rome 2019
Top highlights of the week (June 10-16):
- Praying at the Tomb of St. Peter
- Seeing the Ruins of Pompeii
- Praying at St. Paul’s Tomb
- Praying at the Tomb of St. Laurence
- Visiting Monte Cassino
In 1998, my family made a bold decision. That year, at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Joplin, Missouri, we decided to enter fully into the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. That Sunday morning of April 11, irrevocably changed the course of my life. That spring morning St. Peter adopted me and began teaching me who Jesus is: the Christ, the Son of the Living God! St. Peter stands as one of the greatest intercessors and friends in my life, standing as great as the basilica that holds his bones. I never thought that the course of my vocation would bring me to the catacombs underneath his basilica, face to face with the relics of my patron.
But there he was, quietly resting, and silently praying for the church which was founded upon him.
The city of Rome is truly saturated with the blood of the martyrs. In the eyes of the foolish, their death seems to be in vain. But their blood, poured out in humble imitation of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, speaks more eloquently than the blood of Abel. During my time in Rome, I have heard the same words of Christ to Peter at the end of the Gospel of St. John: Do you love me? As I visit the tombs of the martyrs and see the relics of our faith, I cannot help but to say: Yes Lord, you know that I love you!
St. Peter’s confession should inspire us all to a deeper love of Christ that pulls us out of ourselves into a genuine love of one another firmly grounded in a profound love for Christ. If I have learned anything while being in the Eternal City, it is the love of Christ which compels all good deeds. Although I may not die a martyr like St. Peter, I must still die to my own selfishness, my own comfort, and my own desires, a white martyrdom, so to speak. My will, my love, my heart, must be perfectly conformed to Christ’s. This was what allowed St. Peter and all of the martyrs to give themselves in such an inspiring and grace-filled way. Christ’s sacrifice gives life to the Church. The sacrifice of the martyrs, united to the sacrifice of Christ, gives true life to the Church. St. Peter, pray for us!
The Rome Experience Class of 2019
Diocese of Tyler
Notre Dame Seminary