Personal Musings: June 2007 Archives

Rome Unvisited

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Tomorrow I will be leaving Rome. I expect to be away from the Eternal City for the remaining summer months. I will know better what my fall schedule will be sometime in August. I have been asked to accept a number of engagements in September, October, and November. Oscar Wilde expresses some of the sentiments that rise in my heart as I spend the day sorting through my things and packing.

Rome Unvisited

I.
The corn has turned from grey to red,
Since first my spirit wandered forth
From the drear cities of the north,
And to Italia's mountains fled.
And here I set my face towards home,
For all my pilgrimage is done,
Although, methinks, yon blood-red sun
Marshals the way to Holy Rome.
O Blessed Lady, who dost hold
Upon the seven hills thy reign!
O Mother without blot or stain,
Crowned with bright crowns of triple gold!
O Roma, Roma, at thy feet
I lay this barren gift of song!
For, ah! the way is steep and long
That leads unto thy sacred street.

II.

And yet what joy it were for me
To turn my feet unto the south,
And journeying towards the Tiber mouth
To kneel again at Fiesole!
And wandering through the tangled pines
That break the gold of Arno's stream,
To see the purple mist and gleam
Of morning on the Apennines
By many a vineyard-hidden home,
Orchard and olive-garden grey,
Till from the drear Campagna's way
The seven hills bear up the dome!

III.

A pilgrim from the northern seas--
What joy for me to seek alone
The wondrous temple and the throne
Of him who holds the awful keys!
When, bright with purple and with gold
Come priest and holy cardinal,
And borne above the heads of all
The gentle Shepherd of the Fold.
O joy to see before I die
The only God-anointed king,
And hear the silver trumpets ring
A triumph as he passes by!
Or at the brazen-pillared shrine
Holds high the mystic sacrifice,
And shows his God to human eyes
Beneath the veil of bread and wine.

IV.

For lo, what changes time can bring!
The cycles of revolving years
May free my heart from all its fears,
And teach my lips a song to sing.
Before yon field of trembling gold
Is garnered into dusty sheaves,
Or ere the autumn's scarlet leaves
Flutter as birds adown the wold,
I may have run the glorious race,
And caught the torch while yet aflame,
And called upon the holy name
Of Him who now doth hide His face.

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Birthday

Today, June 2nd, is my 55th birthday! When I went downstairs for collazione this morning, I discovered that Fra Bernardo Maria had baked a lovely breakfast cake for the occasion. Perfect with morning coffee!

At 8:45 Fra Ryan Maria and I set out out for the Church of Saints Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Merulana. Sister Barbara, A.S.C.J. joined us on the way. Thus did three happy Americans celebrate the festival of two glorious Roman Martyrs. After Mass, Sister Maria, a Polish religious belonging to the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth, joined us outside the church. Learning that it was my birthday, she said that she had the devotion of saying as many Gloria Patris as the person being celebrated has years!

A Priest and an Exorcist

Under the Emperor Diocletian, Peter, an exorcist of the Church of Rome, was sent to prison. There he converted the jailer and his entire family to the faith of Christ. They were all baptized by the priest Marcellinus. Condemned to death by the judge Serenus, Marcellinus and Peter were beheaded after atrocious torments.

Keeping Festival

The festival of Saints Marcellinus and Peter is kept as a solemnity in their church. Hence there was a Gloria and Credo at Mass. Fra Ryan Maria read the first and second readings.

At the end of Mass, the parish priest asked me to read the traditional prayer of supplication to the Holy Martyrs. Their reliquary was set amidst crimson flowers and a blaze of candles on the altar. Romans are unabashedly devoted to their saints: a salutary lesson for those who have espoused a dreary liturgical minimalism!

Marcellinus and Peter are named in the Roman Canon. I have a longstanding devotion to the saints of the Roman Canon and it was with no little emotion that I pronounced the names of Marcellinus and Peter at Mass this morning.

Confession

After Mass I went off to the Chiesa Nuova to make my confession! A great way to celebrate 55 years of mercy upon mercy! "Confess ye unto the Lord for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever" (Ps 117:1).

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory

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