all for our divine friend, Jesus

Mar 12, 2013

A large obelisk stands in the centre of St. Peter’s Square in Rome.  Until the 16th century (around the time of the building of the new St. Peter’s basilica) this obelisk stood at the centre of Nero’s Circus, (not a place for animals but from the Latin meaning circle) which was located just to the left (facing the basilica) of the basilica.

Most tourists pay little attention to the obelisk. It is the thing that gets in the road when trying to take a picture of the front of the basilica.  This monument always causes my mind and heart to be moved to prayer.

St. Peter was crucified (upside down) within a few metres of this obelisk when it stood in Nero’s Circus. You may have read the blog entry a couple of days ago “conclave chapels”, where one of Michaelangelo’s last works is The Crucifixion of St. Peter.  So it is not stretching history to accept that this obelisk would have been one of the last things that St. Peter saw.

Over the next few days, thousands of people will crowd St. Peter’s Square awaiting news of a new pope.  A couple of times a day they will watch a chimney. Then (after a few hours, or days, or weeks, or months…depending on the length of the conclave), their gaze will shift to the central balcony above the doors of the basilica. Then the world will focus on the man who is the new pope.

In this midst of all this action, it would be easy to forget that the reason the cardinals wear red is because red is the colour of blood. They are called to, like St. Peter, give their lives for their friend, Jesus, who gave his life for them, and for each of us.

So, over the next few days when tv reports will often catch the obelisk in the picture, let’s savour the love of our divine friend Jesus, who gave everything for us.  This must be the heart of our faith, and the centre of our gaze.





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