O Rome, O Home!

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This has been an extremely difficult trip. The stomach bug I brought with me from NY keeps letting me know that it’s still around, and trying to bring me down. I thought I had beaten it and had spent Monday evening having a terrific supper with a few Rome-based friends and Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey (who is having a very happy, successful and productive trip, God Bless him!) but then yesterday, just moments after the splendid installation of Pope Francis was concluded, the bug reappeared and kept me room-bound.

So, I’m feeling a little like I am in Limbo. I’m dying to go out, but almost afraid to, and then moving about is being complicated by the fact that a 20 year-old hip injury is affecting mobility more than I ever dreamed it would and this is really chalking up to be a loser of a trip. Yes, I’m whining and complaining. Isn’t it pathetic? “Lizzie is in Rome, and she’s griping!”

I’m sorry. I’m just really frustrated. The message I am getting is “you ought not to be here,” and I really want to go home, now. I’m sick and I’m homesick, and I’m not sure what to do about it because every adjustment to the travel schedule costs more money.

Sigh. That picture you see is the little chapel where I go visit St. Philip Neri each time I am here. I am going to go see him today and cry and rail and make a pest of myself, asking for his prayers, to see if there is any way at all to salvage something from this trip. I will bring the intentions of all of you who have asked me to, while I am there. I’ve been remembering them in all my prayers, such as they are.

Meanwhile, yesterday I saw something on twitter that I kind of liked — someone looked at the last three popes and thought: John Paul II was Hope; Benedict XVI was Faith; Francis is Charity.

And let me leave you with something good, and positive and lovely — from the keyboard of Heather King:

Dorothy Day could be a champion of the poor partly because she left the love of her life and offered her whole self to God. St. Maximilian Kolbe offering himself up to starve in the place of another at Auschwitz was on a continuum with his celibacy. St. Francis of Assisi could speak to the birds because his entire procreative urge was ordered to Christ.

So it’s not a matter of being right on social justice and wrong on sex (nor of celibacy being a higher calling than marriage): it’s a matter of the ground of existence, whatever our station in life, being love. It’s a matter of worshiping an entirely different Master than the world, whose gods are security, comfort, efficiency, power, property, prestige and control. I wanted to say to my friend, Haven’t you ever wanted to bow your head in wonder? Haven’t you ever looked around for Someone to thank? In so many words I did say those things, and then I wrenched my hands, for I could feel her embarrassment for me and my “archaic” views, and stammered: “I actually believe it…I believe Christ is the Savior of the world”….

To kiss the feet of AIDS patients and drug addicts, as Pope Francis has done, comes from an entire being that has been formed, has been disciplined, and has as its sole aim love. You don’t have charity in one area and not in another. You don’t offer up one part of yourself and keep another. You offer it all. You lay down your life.

And here I am, pissing and moaning about a stomach bug. O, pray for me. I am so pathetic.

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Bill

    Feel better!

  • Rae Stabosz

    We’re all pathetic, dear Anchoress. Nobody gets out of here alive — although my husband holds out hope he will be changed in a twinkling. Feel surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. I am asking everyone in the Church Glorious who ever had a stomach bug, or was ever homesick, to lift you up to the Throne of the King of Glory. Be well. Be assured of our love and prayers, under the Mercy. Rae

  • Elissa

    I am so sorry that you are sick. I can’t imagine being sick so far away from home and family.

  • Chris K

    Hope you feel better! To be so sick, so far away from home, and missing out sounds exactly terrible. And yet you remembered to pray for others. God bless you!

  • kmk

    Will pray for you right now.

  • Kate

    Hope you feel better soon. I’m a lurker and don’t very often comment anywhere, but this idea came to me and I’m bringing it to your attention because of who you are and most of all, where you are at the moment. Your patheos blogger colleague over at the Muslim channel, Dilshad Ali, has a post regarding a young man (14) with autism named Alex Spourdalakis who is hospitalized at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago who seems to be in a situation where he’s getting some medical treatment but most likely not what he needs (you’d have to read her blog entry to get the details). Well, the name Loyola rang some bells, and it seems the hospital in question is a Catholic hospital for one thing, and associated with the Jesuit order for another. So our new Holy Father, Papa Francis, is a Jesuit. I watched his installation Mass yesterday with my husband and was very moved by his homily about protecting the weak and being good stewards of what we’ve been given. I read Dilshad’s blog faithfully, because like her, I too have a son with autism, pretty close in age to hers and have been through a very similar experience in the last year and a half (although things are better now). Alex could be my son. So I thought, since you are in Rome right now and so many important people are there like yourself for all the latest with our new Holy Father, maybe you might know someone who could get this person’s name and case to the eyes and ears of Pope Francis personally. Maybe then, things could change and maybe the hospital and doctors might be better disposed to actually look for what’s causing Alex’s psych symptoms and not just or first treat those symptoms instead of ruling out other medical causes first, like they’d typically would for a non-autistic patient. So, if it is at all possible, please look into this situation and see if you can get someone (anyone) there in Rome to get the Holy Father’s attention to this particular matter. It would sure mean a lot and would make a difference to a person who really needs it right now. Thanks and sorry to ask this of you while you are sick, but I’m doing this because frankly I believe in you and Pope Francis and that you can make a difference. For some reason the media doesn’t seem to want to pick up this story and this young man has been at Loyola for over a month now I think with no real change or relief in sight. Many thanks! and God bless you, our new Holy Father and your work.

  • Lori

    Praying for you, dear Anchoress. Feel better, and don’t worry about sounding whiny – the sick are privileged! ;)

  • Peggy m

    God bless you. I am sorry you are so miserable. Go ahead and whine a bit here if it helps—we are your friends!

  • Zmama

    It must be so disappointing to be in Rome and not feel up to seeing all that I know you would like to see. I will keep saying prayers that you conquer this bug completely and can salvage what remains of your trip.

  • Fr. Allen

    I pray you recover well! And, a trip that resulted in being present for the inauguration of Pope Francis can only be called a winner. Thank God for such a wonderful opportunity realized.

  • Antoinette Serena

    Please feel better, Ms Anchoress! I know from experience a good cry in church helps a lot – hope your prayers with your patron St. Philip bear much fruit! Prayers from another stomach bug survivor!

  • http://www.bede.org Stefanie

    Oh, dear Elizabeth. Here is where you are united with Papa Benedict. He, too, is in the midst of everything and yet removed from everything.
    I keep wondering why God has created this trip to Rome for you…perhaps dear St. Philip Neri has revealed it to you today. We all are pilgrims …sometimes we don’t know why we are or to where we are going.
    Praying for you.

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    Meanwhile, there continues to be black smoke above the White House since we still have NO president!

    Feel better, dear E. This too shall pass. No pun intended!

  • Hantchu

    Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. I hope you feel better soon.

    Another encouraging word: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/127310/is-a-jesuit-good-for-the-jews

  • brenda

    You are :) I will :) So am I! Thanks for being there, sharing your impressions of our new Vicar of Christ and praying for the rest of us :)

  • Win Nelson

    Get well soon!

  • http://manicdoodlings.blogspot.com Steve

    The only thing worse than being sick at home is being sick away from home. I’m sure if I were in your shoes I’d be crying and complaining too–we’re all God’s children, even us pathetic whiners!

  • leslie

    you’re not pathetic in the slightest. forgive me… when you feel like carp, you just feel like carp. you’re *human*. absolutely no apologies necessary. when you feel well, you will go & do, and write as you do, and bring the light wherever you may be and share with the rest of us. *through you*. i will pray for this for you. i am in limbo for my own reasons. and it is hard, very difficult most times, to see through the limbo. but God will see you through. and i will pray for you to feel well, so that you may enjoy the rest of your journey (in whatever locale that may be) so that you may continue to share this light that i, and so many others enjoy. may God bless you Elizabeth. you are witness to a place and a time and an environment, even though troubled with physical illness, that i can only dream of being a witness. my prayer for you is physical relief so that you may continue this journey of yours and share with the rest of the world how wonderful it really is.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Will the savings from not needing a hotel room or meal money offset the cost of the ticket change? You probably considered that, but in case you didn’t I brng it up.

    Feel better. This has been the worst winter for illness for me. I hear that from many people. I don’t know what’s going on.

    [I just can't get a seat. I can get home one day early, but for another $400...so...no luck -admin]