Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Bells of St. Mary

There are many pleasures in Rome. One that I had forgotten was the beautiful sound of the church bells that mark the time here in Trastevere. Every 15 minutes, the bell tower of the beautiful basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere tolls a certain tone once for each hour and once for each quarter of an hour. You never need to look at a watch. Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling very well since my arrival here and am forced to spend the entire day today in bed. The bells are my consolation. A wonderful consolation.

Upon arrival, despite a pounding head, I did take a walk down to St. Peter's. It is almost a tradition for me to visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II upon my arrival in this city. I was filled with emotion as I knelt behind the ropes and reflected on all that has transpired these past few years. I prayed for all of the benefactors of FrassatiUSA, everyone on the mailing list, everyone on the Facebook fan page, all of my family and friends. There are so many special intentions. I also asked that holy man to advance the cause of Pier Giorgio Frassati. I think he would have loved to have been the one to canonize him. Now it will be up to someone else some day.

Another favorite spot of mine is the Divine Mercy church here -- officially it is the Church of the Holy Spirit. They have Eucharistic Adoration every day and it is a very peaceful, holy place. I enjoyed being there for Mass.

Of course, here in the piazza where I stay, I am fortunate to be able to regularly visit Santa Maria in Trastevere. It is a beautiful place and a church that is very alive in Rome. During yesterday's homily, the priest made a point worth reflecting on at length. He spoke of how we have become so preoccupied with the rights of every sort of group, the rights of animals, etc. But we have forgotten that with every right comes a corresponding duty to live up to the responsibilities that the right bestows. Ultimately, all of our rights, our very dignity, come from being sons and daughters of God. And with those rights comes the duty to love God in return and live lives worthy of such a distinction as to be called children of God.

Not feeling well has kept me from spending much time with Wanda so far. However, I did get to visit with her and another of her sisters for a little while yesterday. We will make up for lost time in the days ahead. Thanks to everyone who has sent well wishes and the promise of prayers. It is all very much appreciated. Verso l'alto!

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