A Creche, B-16 & Your Opinion, Please

I tease you with a splendid picture (they get a little fuzzy with cropping/shrinking) from Rome in order to entice you into answering a question for me.

What you see there is perhaps the most exquisite little chapel in Rome, in the great, mostly-5th century Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major). The whole church is breathtaking (I am going to someday pattern my floors on the swirly designs therein), but this particular picture is of the Nativity chapel, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. The chapel includes the tombs of Pope Sixtus V, St. Jerome and the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and St. Ignatius of Loyola said his first mass at that altar, in the 1500’s.

The statue of Pope Sixtus V, gazing in rapt adoration at the wood of the manger, is stunning; imagine sculpting lace out of marble! (I snuck a touch; it was cool and lacy).

Observe the tassels surrounding the pillow upon which the pope rests his hands, and its pattern! Doesn’t it all look so soft, and touchable, as if you could run your finger along the fringe and watch it run in waves? And the colorful inlaid marble that made up the walls, the stairways–it brought a sense of joy, energy, hopefulness.

For a crypt, it was a very “alive” place. I wanted to linger, far too long.

Now, here is my question: is the Word of the Day worth continuing?

I ask because as nearly as I can tell, only three people read the thing, myself, one person on twitter, and another gal who likes to make puns off of my words, although I think I have stumped her with this one.

So, please let me know what you think. Is it worth it scrounging up a new word every day, or should I let it go? Is it worth reading?

Should I end the Word of the Day?
Yes, it dumb.
No, I likee
pollcode.com free polls

Speaking of worth reading, let me give you a little lookaround, beginning with this appreciation of B-16:


1) Expect nasty rhetoric from the press while the pope is in England. But of course!

2) Is there a second miracle that can be attributed to the intercessory prayers of John Henry Newman? Sounds like! Tony Blair writes on the Pope and Newman.

3) Very worth reading: celebrating quiet heroes. And more grassroots appreciation here.

4) Oh, St. Clare: Pope praises courageous women

5) John Allen on Benedict
, stepping into the buzzsaw of dissent in the UK. This pope is as fearless as the last. A great quote on dissent here.

I frankly fear for Benedict’s safety, this trip, as I did not fear his going to Turkey.

Atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins has described the Pope as “a leering old villain in a frock,” while the author Claire Rayner has declared she has never felt “such animus against any individual as I do against this creature.”

“His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us that the only thing to do is to get rid of him,” Rayner has commented.

Here is a prayer for the trip.

And for something completely off-topic: An appreciation of the pulpiest of fictions

UPDATE: I love this story, coming from Deacon Greg’s place, about a man who is restoring and displaying old plaster statues from closed churches:

“It’s interesting how all the little things you learn to do can contribute,” he said. “You wonder why you’re doing things, then it comes in handy for something like this.”

McClung, who has been footing the restoration costs out of his own pocket, taught himself how to clean and repaint the pieces, as well as craft missing fingers and arms.

“My goal as an artist is to make the statues as realistic as possible,” he said.

The recurrent theme of my wonderings–how everything we do, everything we experience, for good or bad, everything we learn–comes with a purpose, whose value we will come to understand, if only we are willing!

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