Monday, September 11, 2006

A new day

The route is spectacular through the Vatican to the room from where a small group of us broadcast the multilingual commentaries for various Papal ceremonies.

First of all, there is a series of doors, guarded by Swiss Guard in full uniform. Production of the necessary Vatican Radio ID normally results in a cheery smile, a salute and a word or two in whatever language happens to be the one for today. They all speak German, have acquired Italian (except for the couple of Guard who are of Swiss-Italian origin in any case. English is common and, presumably, they all speak French as a matter of course.

There is a lift up to the appropriate floor, but there is also a possibility of going on foot up the beautiful marble steps leading from the Bronze Door. They are tiring and longer than they look. The steps were also deliberately shallow because, at one time, they allowed for horses to be driven up their length. They are, in addition, an interesting optical illusion because, faced with a relatively short corridor, the architects of St. Peter's and the Vatican created this particular flight of stairs to look as though it is considerably longer than is the reality. (Mind you, they are still more than long enough if one is a bit late and is in the desperate hurry that has sometimes been necessary!)

Conscious that one of the side doors off this flight of stairs just happens to be an entrance directly into the Sistine Chapel, there is a big enough surprise when going through the door at the top. It's very heavy but amazingly 'sweet' in the way it swings so easily and silently on massive hinges, to reveal the beautiful frescoes and sculpted marble curtains of the Hall of Kings. Once upon a time, this was the place in which kings waited for their audience with the popes. Now it's just a path that I regularly take, marvelling at the exquisite beauty... but then Raphael was, as were some other great artists, 'just the house painter'!

As the new day dawns, I'm just about to retrace the same path of yesterday, ready for another English commentary for another Papal Mass from Germany. Yesterday's was sheer delight. The music was wonderful, the weather perfect, the Pope looking as though he was enjoying every minute of the celebration. I did too, once the technician had tinkered with a connection to my headphones and I was no longer receiving the German through one ear, an Italian commentator through the other whilst I tried to speak in English!

A new day dawns. Some things can be predicted. Others can't... but isn't that also a sign of God's love? No two days are identical and each day has its own moments of loveliness.

God bless,
Sr. Janet