A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Basilicas and Apostles

Today's optional memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of the Apostles Peter and Paul is first and foremost yet another opportunity to celebrate the great faith of these two men and their special roles in Christ as foundation stones of the Church.

It is also an opportunity to appreciate the Basilicas themselves.

One of my favorite parts of Saint Peter’s Basilica is the Altar of the Chair, dominated by Bernini's magnificent sculpture group towering above it: the Cathedra Petri – the “Chair of Peter.”

Four great Fathers of the Church – Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Athanasius, and Saint John Chrysostom – each extend a single finger to hold a majestic chair aloft; on the back of the chair is an image of Christ entrusting the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to St. Peter; inside the chair are the venerated remnants of an ancient chair said to have been used by Saint Peter himself; atop the chair two cherubs hold a papal tiara; and above it all is the glory of the Holy Spirit.

In this recent picture, the Successor of Peter sits beneath the “Chair of Peter.”

One of the most interesting features of the Basilica of Saint Paul’s "Outside the Walls" is the atrium: a common feature of ancient basilicas (an opportunity to “decompress” after walking in off the street and to prepare for entering a very special building).

Here, the gentle garden and covered walkways are centered on a statue of Saint Paul wielding the sword of God’s word.

Places of worship can be lesson books in themselves: witnessing both to the details and to the power of faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(from a previous post)