Monday, June 20, 2011

This makes me think... from St Therese, the Little Flower on Rome

How shall I describe the feelings which thrilled me when I gazed
on the Coliseum? At last I saw the arena where so many Martyrs had shed their blood for Christ. My first impulse was to kiss the
ground sanctified by their glorious combats. But what a
disappointment! The soil has been raised, and the real arena is
now buried at the depth of about twenty-six feet.

As the result of excavations the centre is nothing but a mass of
rubbish, and an insurmountable barrier guards the entrance; in any case no one dare penetrate into the midst of these dangerous
ruins. But was it possible to be in Rome and not go down to the
real Coliseum? No, indeed! And I no longer listened to the guide's
explanations: one thought only filled my mind--I must reach the

We are told in the Gospel that St. Mary Magdalen remained close to the Sepulchre and stooped down constantly to look in; she was
rewarded by seeing two Angels. So, like her, I kept stooping down
and I saw, not two Angels, but what I was in search of. I uttered
a cry of joy and called out to my sister: "Come, follow me, we
shall be able to get through." We hurried on at once, scrambling
over the ruins which crumbled under our feet. Papa, aghast at our
boldness, called out to us, but we did not hear.

As the warriors of old felt their courage grow in face of peril,
so our joy increased in proportion to the fatigue and danger we
had to face to attain the object of our desires. Celine, more
foreseeing than I, had listened to the guide. She remembered that
he had pointed out a particular stone marked with a cross, and had
told us it was the place where the Martyrs had fought the good
fight. She set to work to find it, and having done so we threw
ourselves on our knees on this sacred ground. Our souls united in
one and the same prayer. My heart beat violently when I pressed my lips to the dust reddened with the blood of the early Christians.
I begged for the grace to be a martyr for Jesus, and I felt in the
depths of my heart that my prayer was heard. All this took but a
short time. After collecting some stones we approached the walls
once more to face the danger. We were so happy that Papa had not
the heart to scold us, and I could see that he was proud of our

--- St Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul (online edition).

Having recently visited Rome, I thought I'd share some more photos with you --specificially, the Coliseum or Colosseo, as they call it in Italy. The Cross you see erected there toward the end of the photos was erected in 2000, the Jubiliee Year by Blessed John Paul II.

Learn more about the Coliseum here.

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