Day 3 — Post-Pope

After the Papal Audience we toured St. Peter’s Basilica and some of the art on our way to the Sistine Chapel. I was overwhelmed as expected by the sheer amount of artwork — but even more so I felt called back to the past weekend of certificate study as well as the Gospel reading about the Feeding of the 5000. Fr. Stan broke it down: 5 loaves. 2 fish. 1 boy. Doesn’t humanly add up to 5000 (really probably 15-20,000 peeps). But God ain’t bound by math. He ain’t bound by doubt. We have a WILD God who dares us to believe He can’t do something! And when we are most unlovable is when He loves us the most.
So standing there amidst all this art — some of it my taste — and some of it not — I’m reminded that 100% of the gifts are right here to meet 100% of the needs. Wherever I am. Every time. All of this art comes from talent which is an unearned, undeserved, gift from God. My heart spoke, “with all of this beauty, surely there is enough.”
I’ve been discerning moving on from my current job, and I knew I would be praying a lot about that here on pilgrimage. I have been worried that perhaps I missed a call from God. I’ve been sending my resume out to a few places but not feeling really passionate about it. I have worried that either my gifts have been tapped here or that the community’s gifts have been tapped out here. But I am wrong. I need to re-examine my trust and faith.
We walked along a Fresco Hall and I was listening to the comments of others around me about how all this art was done by hand — no computer graphics, no facebook sharing, no copies, no computers, no technology, and how this generation will never be able to appreciate or produce such amazing [whatever]. Again my heart spoke, “God evens it out.” I don’t know what that means, but we are a people of hope — so my hope is through all of the elements, gifts, needs, and calls towards a New Evangelization, a call to New Media Evangelization, through peeps like Fr. Stan and many others — that God indeed will even it out.
We were briefed on the Sistine Chapel before we went inside — but nothing could prepare one for the entrance into one of the most important places in our current Church History. There are Vatican guides reminding of silenzio as you enter, and it’s packed with people. I was lucky enough to find a seat facing the direction I knew I wanted to face — thanks to prep work by our very own STM peep Dr. Jim. I knew I wanted to spend my 15 minutes facing the Last Judgment. I swear I could still smell the incense from conclave. I walked past the spot where every Cardinal swore their oath. I sat in the back and prayed about my own discernment, the intentions of my family, friends, and parish, and asked God to help everyone making touch decisions and asked for clarity in hearing God’s Will.
My notes while watching the Last Judgment read: hundreds of decisions made right here…by saints and sinners…surrounded by signs…surrounded by God’s glory…by God’s Plan for us…God’s intention for where we will spend eternity…and still we sin…still we fall…I feel emotional…this is how God gave us Pope Francis just 28 days ago. I’m standing where it happened. I know the Holy Spirit is everywhere — but He was here in this place in a very special way just recently. I feel overwhelmed with the reality of fire and love for my Catholic faith, and I feel passionate about cooperating with God’s plan “that we may all be one,” to help others who know only partially — to know fully — as God fully knows each of us. I feel humbled by all of the fear and wisdom and wonder and awe in this room — I feel the weight of the Church. The weight of the people…and at the same time a freedom and trust in our God. This is what it’s about. This is the meaning of MY life. This is the meaning of where I am called. To heaven.
Now — don’t get nervous. I did look around in other places besides the Last Judgment. My mother was very struck by the Creation of Man panel and Adam and Eve. I think perhaps that speaks to her because of the gift of marriage she has. I’ve listened to a fabulous courtship and marriage story even while on this pilgrimage — I’ll write about it later.

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