Continuing with my post “The Surprising Ways of the Holy Spirit Part I” about my visit to Rome, the surprising ways of the Holy Spirit took us to visit the Saint Peter Basilica that day. When we were approaching we had to pause for a moment to contemplate the magnificence of this Basilica.
First, we stop in the entrance gallery where we appreciated the frescos in the ceiling.
I felt invited by the Holy Spirit to give thanks for this great gift.
I thought of the people who condemned the Vatican for its riches who don’t understand its history and meanings, and I prayed for them.
We walked toward the right aisle, facing the altar, which contains many great artistic and religious works. Michelangelo’s Pietà is in the first chapel, shielded by thick glass. This masterpiece dates from 1499, when the artist was only 24 years old.
Also I was thankful for the Renaissance movement that worshiped God with this magnificence art and inspiration.
We continued our visit, and we were blessed to see the altar that was built for Pope John Paul II with his tomb underneath. In front of his altar, people were praying with devotion and deep love.
I remembered John Paul’s smiling and blessings over the entire world, I still have present in my mind the image of his masses in Argentina, Mexico and Cuba, and I was moved by the Holy Spirit to give thanks for this Pope in our lifetime. I prayed for his intercession for all the economic and political issues in the world of today.
We approached the papal altar which is adorned by the famous gilded bronze baldachin that was designed by a youthful Bernini between 1624 and 1632. It stands 29 meters high and was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644) to fill the “empty” space below the dome and create an upward movement. I thought about all the events, masses and ceremonies that this altar witnessed along the time.
Our guide indicated that the tomb of the Apostle Saint Peter is located underground the pope altar, I was invited to remember that we are all united in Christ, and that all the past and future generations are in His presence.
Walking along the altars, I was surpassed and overwhelmed. I had the sense that I didn’t want to leave that building; I could feel the spirit of God there.
That wasn’t enough for Him, because He wanted to take us to the tomb of our beloved John XXIII whose preserve body is exposed behind glass at the right side of the pope altar. This was a surprised for us because I didn’t know that the body of John XXIII was exposed, and I never expected to see it.
It was believed that his body was incorruptible, but then the Vatican stated that it was well preserved and it was embalmed. Either way, I could see him, the Pope who literally was “part” of my parents’ family.
My mother was a fervent devote of Pope John XXII , she said that he helped her in many instances, but especially was the Pope of the “lost things”. She used to invoke “Juan” when keys, documents, medicine, even money was lost or misplaced, and they were found in places where she was seeking already as someone delicately placed them in a visibly spot.
This tradition was transferred to my family and my siblings’ families as well. Blessed medals of Pope John XXIII were in all our homes; and his prayers were learned by some members of the family. At that time, I was deeply touched for this blessing, and I could feel the presence of the soul of my mother, and I prayed for all my family on earth, in the purgatory and in heaven, and the people who we –my husband and I- met in our lifetime.
This part of the visit to the Vatican hit the highest point because I certainly knew that the Holy Spirit was giving us this unforgettable gift that we will have in our hearts and memories for ever.
Months after this great moment I am still deeply touched, and my life has been greatly impacted. There were a lot of messages from Jesus through the Holy Spirit in this trip that will take a lot time and prayer to discern. Nevertheless, I am sure that God is calling me in mysterious, exquisite and holy ways, and I am going to respond.