©Michele L. Catanese
All the photos are my own. The first was taken from the top of the dome of St. Peter's in Rome. This 'bird's eye' view captures the enormity of St. Peter's Square as one looks outward at the city of Rome. This is what we do as Christians: we look outward to see how we might bring our faith, mercy, and love to those who do not know the love of God.
The next two photos are Saints Peter and Paul, respectively, as they stand in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. As mentioned in my text, St. Peter holds the keys to the Kingdom and St. Paul is holding a sword as a defender of the faith. These photos really do not capture the size of the statues, but they are impossible to miss when standing in front of the Basilica.
The fourth photo is the famous (or infamous) Tower of London. I chose this photo because many Christians were held there and many met their deaths either within these walls or just outside of them after having been imprisoned within. God was with those brave men and women; many attested to having a sense of peace as they awaited their fate. There were some, however, who did not die there, but who were set free.
Next is a painting called Cliff Walk at Pourville by Claude Monet. I chose this because it depicts the enjoyment of a beautiful vista shared by the two women seen on the cliff. The puffy clouds float freely in the sky, the grass sways in the gentle breeze, the sailboats in the distance appear to glide upon the water, and the figures on the cliff seem carefree. I invite you to use this painting as a meditation to soothe any anxieties you might have at the moment.
Following the Monet is an icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols called St. Paul the Apostle. I chose it because Paul is holding a book of the Scriptures which today include many letters he wrote to help some of the early church communities have a better understanding of the faith. I also like the mountains in the background and the hill with the tree upon it in the foreground which remind me of the many difficult travels of Paul. The cloud seems to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit with him. This icon can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-paul-the-apostle-196-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
Last is a photo I took at sunset on a rooftop in the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome. In the distance (to the right) is the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. I have always loved this photo because it seems to blend the everyday life of ordinary neighborhoods and ordinary people with the Church, our spiritual home-away-from-home (Heaven). I love the colors of the sunset, which speak of the variety of beauty created by God and of His presence everywhere.