Yesterday evening after worshipping with the Anglican community in Rome we joined the Sant’Egidio community for their evening worship at the beautiful and ancient church of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The members of the community, a dispersed lay community, ecumenical and now in many countries, meet in the church every evening before engaging in the good works that they are known for. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy it is wonderful to see how the principal of mercy is being lived out by the ordinary ‘living stones’ of the church in Rome.
Fr Marco, the Parish Priest of Santa Maria in Trastevere, met us after the evening office and told us something of the history and life of the church. Next to it is a house accommodating refugee families, part of the work of the parish and the community at this church. It was really wonderful to meet him and to see more of the church.
The mosaics are beautiful and tell the story of Mary. The panels in the apse conclude with a depiction of the dormition and the beautiful image of Christ holding the soul of Our Lady in a pose that mirrors that of Our Lady holding the Christ child. It was wonderful to see and such a beautiful and delicate way of depicting the caring, merciful, nurturing nature of God.
The final part of our visit this morning was to go to St Peter’s Basilica before the crowds gathered. The doors open at 7.00am and we were in the small group of people waiting for the opening. The sky was blue, the basilica bathed in early sunshine. We walked through the Holy Door and before the baldacchino prayed for mercy. The stones were beautiful but the living stones we have encountered, even more so.
Merciful God, may we live lives of mercy and work with you to build your church of living stones. Amen.