On the Last Time She Saw St. Peter’s Square (Devotional)

St. Peter’s Square

Phyllis Nissila

She recalled it like this:

I found myself standing in St. Peter’s Square. The bronze, marble, and granite of the piazza’s art and architecture shone hard in the hot Mediterranean sun. The saints’ statues rimming the balustrade atop the columns surrounding the forecourt stood like sentries guarding the opulence. Maybe it was the brilliance of noon, but I also had the impression of gilded, jewel-encrusted edifices.

The people were cheering and looking upward in awe at the balcony of the Papal apartments. The Supreme Pontiff, robed in regal attire, gleaming mitre crowning his head, smiled and waved. He seemed well pleased with the power of the presentation, the homage of the pilgrims.

Suddenly, I was aware of a man standing nearby. Silently, he guided me inside the basilica. I stepped through a massive door anticipating the famous splendor of the interior, but it was dark and thick with dust. As my eyes adjusted, I perceived the floor was moving. In horror, I realized the movement was caused by hundreds of human beings on their hands and knees scratching in the dirt.

It was then I realized it was all a façade.

My sister said the dream of St. Peter’s Square startled her even though she had long since left Roman Catholicism. But it also prompted gratitude—in both of us, former Roman Catholics. Gratitude for having been invited entrance to God’s “rest” by faith [1], not by pilgrimage, homage, or scratching in the dirt for the price of admission. Gratitude for Jesus, who paid the cost in precious coin, His blood. And gratitude that St. Peter preceded us not in worldly pomp and glory but as the very first to declare the knowledge revealed by the Father that Jesus is the Son of the living God:

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the son of man am? / And they said, some say that thou are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. / He saith unto them But whom say ye that I am? / And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God. / And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. / And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mathew 16: 13-18 KJV).

Memory withers, pomp and glory, even under a brilliant Mediterranean sun, fade, but the question—and the invitation—remain.

[1] Hebrews 4:1-11

Photo from public domain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St-Peters-Square-and-St-Peters-Basilica.jpg

This entry was posted in Devotionals, Ex-Roman Catholic/Catholicism, most recent posts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to On the Last Time She Saw St. Peter’s Square (Devotional)

  1. Carl Gordon says:

    “…no longer scratching in the dirt for the price of admission…” made me cry…Thank you Jesus.


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