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.