The Fall of Me in Rome

February 24, 2024 

Our last day in Rome and it was another whopper. We got up extra early and took the subway to the Vatican. Once there, we went to the Vatican Museum, which according to Wikipedia, is the 6th largest museum in the world. I’ve only ever been to one bigger -The New York Metropolitan. That’s the 4th largest. But this felt like the world’s biggest after walking 24,000 steps the 2 days before.

The artwork collection is beautiful and overwhelming at the same time. It's almost too much to take in. The collection spans the history of human civilization starting from Mesopotamia to modern times. At the end of the museum is a spiral staircase that takes you back down to the depth of mundane life to spit you out onto the streets of humanity. As if we were somehow given a glimpse of heaven and then returned to our plane of existence. Of course, I took exception to that. As great as much of the art I saw was truly magnificent. I felt that most of it fell short of touching the true Creator. Creation is wonderful and we should marvel at its beauty, but it is still looking into a dark reflection when compared to the glory of God. 

When we finally got to the Sistine Chapel we were quickly rushed through because of the huge crowds (and this was off-season!) What little we saw was amazing, but once again, we felt as though we were meant to feel somehow smaller than the art itself, yet Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” How much more valuable are we than any painting?

Finally, after a 2-hour wait in line, we are in the Basilica of St. Peter. The sheer size is really hard to place in words for me. No video or picture can do it justice. The ceilings go up forever and the statues that adorn each column are beyond any colossal statue I’ve ever seen. Sandi was very emotional when she took in the beauty of it all. But what I wanted to see with my own eyes I wasn’t sure if that was possible. We made our way through this whole complex, resting along the way as we were worn out from our journey there. I stumbled upon an open staircase and a few others were going down into it. So I followed. Down the stairs I went until I was under the alter above. And in front of me was the tomb of Peter. Behind the portrait of Jesus and underneath lies Peter’s tomb. Is he really there? I’m not sure. But in faith, it brings me that much closer to someone who gave everything for the cause of Christ. Peter willingly gave his life, like that of his friend and master, but he chose to be crucified upside down, so as not to take any glory from Jesus by being crucified in the same way.

From there we had another great gluten-free pizza and made our way to a nighttime concert of Gregorian chant in a medieval church full of old monks’ bones. Creepy and beautiful at the same time. I think that the beauty of it is that we all need to be aware of our short time here on earth and that we need to find our purpose in Jesus to fulfill the mission He has called us to do.

Off to bed and then off to Florence for our next trip!

The “Map Room” in the Vatican Museum


Emperor Domitian. One of Christians' greatest enemies.


St. Peter's Basilica with Jesus and the 12 Disciples watching on. Jumbotron and all.


Michelangelo's “Our Lady of Piety” inside St. Peter's Basilica.


Ceilings that go on forever…


Tomb of Peter

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