Rome, the Perfect Metaphor for the Priesthood

June 6, 2016

Rome is an interesting city.

It is a blend of so many things. It is both temporal and spiritual. It is both holy and profane. It is both beautiful and ugly. It is both very nice and very dirty. It is both historic and modern. It is both powerful and simple. It is both big and small.

In Rome, so many things so different can exist together in a wonderful mix. I can find myself on the street with hundreds of people walking around, with all kind of noises and smells, and on the next corner is a Church with a quiet space for prayer.

I can be on a street with trash littered all around and next to it is a fountain of drinkable water. Rome has both immense, beautiful Churches and small, beautiful street corners where I can sit and have lunch or dinner with friends and enjoy the little street of Rome.

Rome has both the holiness of the martyrs and the profane of a city famous for pickpocketing, thiefs, and overpriced services. Rome has both the spiritual power of the Pope and the temporal power of the State of Italy.

In a way, Rome is the perfect metaphor for the priesthood.

In a priest, we can find both the reality of heaven and earth, of the things spiritual and earthly, of God and human beings. A priest lives a human life as a witness for the reality of heaven. In a way, Rome is a witness in itself.

Begin with the witness of one man (St Peter) who saw the incarnation with his own eyes. That man then gave his life as a witness for his faith. He became the cornerstone of the Church. And an enormous monument is build on top of his tomb. And down the centuries, many more witnesses come forward. They give their lives in different ways. Some were martyred and some lived a holy life as a witness for their faith. And many monuments are built on top of their tombs too.

Rome is a wonderful place. A place of God and of mankind.

Nam Doan
The Rome Experience Class of 2016

Diocese of Orange
Ordination 2020