As I continue to reflect upon my ad limina visit to Rome, my heart remains filled with many feelings. What is interesting is that the same two feelings come to mind regardless of how many times I have visited the Eternal City.
The first is a deep sense of awe and wonder at the universality of the Church. A simple walk down the Via Della Conciliazione (which is the large avenue that opens onto Saint Peter’s Basilica) reveals the breadth and scope of believers who are united in faith to the Successor of Peter. They are young and old, rich and homeless, speaking a symphony of languages, all united by one Lord, one faith and one baptism. It is remarkable and humbling to see people of every race and language spiritually united into one family of faith and to remember that I am one of them.
The second emotion is gratitude for being part of something that has endured for centuries. To think that we now walk on streets in modern Rome which sit upon ancient streets that saw the martyrs die for their faith, countless people walk in prayer and bishops who participated in the great Councils of the Church are amazing. The long history of the Church, with all its triumphs and failures, evokes in me a deep sense of hope that despite our present challenges, some of which is grace, the Church will endure until the Lord returns to claim His people and lead them to glory.
Rome has its share of challenges, as does every modern city. However, to visit there is to encounter a spiritual reality far greater and more beautiful than any other city can offer.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.