My husband and I are in the middle of a six-hour layover at the O’Hare Airport, en route to Rome to meet up with his fellow canon law classmates for a two-week Rome trip with a decidedly canon law flavor. He’s in a suit; I’m in a skirt, stainless. The babies are with the grandparents, and we decide that we’d be happy if we never left Terminal K for the next two weeks.
I sip a latte that’s wrapped in an insulated cover which illustrates the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, and I remember that today is Pope Benedict’s birthday. I wish we would’ve brought him some cheese from our home state of Wisconsin. My husband helps himself to my coffee, and I don’t mind one bit because two days’ time will find us in the front row of Benedict’s Wednesday audience. And Wednesday afternoon will probably find me in an Italian hospital, being treated for heart failure.
Being in the same room as Christ’s vicar on earth. Descending beneath St. Peter’s to visit St. Peter’s tomb. Feeling the overwhelming presence of the saints at the Colosseum. Gazing at the Pieta. Gaping at the Sistine Chapel. Gawking at the Italians. Resisting the mighty urge to speak English with a faux Italian accent at all times. Not wearing jeans for two weeks. Drinking wine at noon. Attending Mass at the tomb of St. Josemaria Escriva. Visiting the CDF, CDW, the Rota, the Apostolic Signatura, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Apostolic Penitentiary—what could they do?, the Congregation for Bishops and other dicasteries with my husband and his fellow canonisti. Pretending to be Nicolas Cage in the Secret Archives. Not carrying a diaper bag. Meeting my old bishop from my home diocese in his new surroundings, where he is known as Raymondo Cardinal Bur-kay. Watching the priests and religious enter and exit the Vatican with their beautiful cassocks and habits blowing in the breeze. A brief excursion to Assisi with a dear priest friend. Church hopping, saint visiting, masterpiece finding. Pasta, fancy shoes, scarves, altar pieces, statues, and cobblestone streets. Receiving the Eucharist in the Eternal City.
I might need hospitalization now.
God is so good.
Copyright 2012 Meg Matenaer