Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is an awesome experience and a great delight one can never forget. Sitting by the corner of the huge Vatican Square one bright summer day in one of our Guam Divine Mercy pilgrimages there, I couldn’t help but deeply admire and be mesmerized by the beauty of this magnificent edifice with its intricate architectural design done by Bernini, one of Italy’s great artists of all time. Its two side facades formed in a semi-circular form look like embracing arms, and the hundreds of huge pillars supporting these structures stand in perfect symmetrical alliance. What dawned in my mind is the hand of God embracing and supporting the Church, that despite the multi-ethnic and cultural diversity of its members, it remains unified under the leadership of the Pope whose power and authority came from Jesus Christ Himself.
But inside St. Peter’s Basilica, there’s even more ebullient scenery of colorful, grotesque and classical designs and formation of the walls, ceiling, columns and alleys, with multitude of visitors and pilgrims from all over the world. But among the many stunning features, there is one that significantly stands out that carries everyone who enters the Basilica’s portals, guiding each one’s direction not probably given much attention by the daily droves of people; its marble floor. But it captured someone’s serious attention and who even wrote a beautiful poem about it that goes: “ There are many walls, so many columns, yet we are not lost. If we find meaning and oneness, it is the floor that guides us. It joins the spaces of the great building and joins the spaces within us. Peter, you are the floor. You guide our steps so the spaces may be one.” The author of this poem was a Bishop who later became His Holiness Pope John Paul 11, now a Saint.
Yet like that marble floor at St. Peter’s Basilica, our mark of unity as a Church and with each other in our Catholic faith, is the Pope. We live in a world where coldness, apathy, hostility and indifference to the truth are prevalent not only in institutions, associations, movements, governments, group and entities but also in individual life of people. In this radical human character, we need a lighthouse where we can turn our life’s compass for wise guidance and right direction. We have the rock of Christ’s eternal truth in the person of the Holy Pontiff that despite the scandals from the upper and lower echelons of the church hierarchy, decadence of faith and morals among fellow worshippers and sacrilegious conduct in the discharge of sacrosanct functions, the Catholic Church will ultimately prevail.
As we reflect of the significance and role of the marble floor at St. Peter’s Basilica, we to have a lot of spaces and in our personal and moral life that need re-alignment. At the end of the day, what’s important is not so much the length of our time and volume of our effort invested at work, in the family or anywhere else, but how much love and faith we have incorporated in every thought, word and deed. We all walk in the same floor of life created by the same God whom we worship. The ruggedness and smoothness of our daily life depends on how we treat life itself. Life’s burden is bearable if carried with loving and generous partnership. Every drop of our sweat water the seed of success and trigger tomorrow’s bloom if we work hard enough without counting the cost. As tear relieves the anguish of the heart, faith strengthens our relationship with God. As they say that faith is not jumping into conclusion, but concluding to jump into the loving arms of our merciful Father. As we walk in the marble floor as it were, it will inspire us to ponder that life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well.
St. Faustina wrote Jesus’ words; “ Your compassion within the bounds of obedience Has pleased Me, that is why I came down from My throne to taste the fruits of your mercy.”