Vatican City is extremely conducive to studying one’s senses. While walking past the crumbling walls of Vatican City, I reached the cobblestone plaza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. As the noise of traffic decreased, I felt like the bustling city was pulled away and my senses honed in on the immaculate structure before me. My vision jumped from one statue to another statue adorning the top of the cathedral- I was struck by the endless labyrinth of detail. My eyes remained transfixed upon the bleached stone on the horizon of my vision and above. All the while, my feet readjusted with each step because of the deteriorating, centuries old cobblestone. My senses were overloaded and each body part responded to my environment. A breath from the wind was filled with rose scented incense, nuns from every part of the world cried in jubilation, and each person remained solemn in expression out of respect. Although the Catholic Church has long fought tragedy and adversity down through the centuries, one could not help but be awe struck by the dedication to this magnificent structure.
The full circle in front of the Vatican was a massive expanse that seemed out of place in a crowded metropolis such as Rome. As I began to walk up to the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, the structure grew larger with each step. The sounds of conversation began to diminish and I prepared myself for another long day inside a dimly lit “museum” of sorts. As I entered the first hall, I was overcome by the magnitude of it’s interior. It felt as if the ceilings were unreachable even by ladder and the length of the halls were longer than my entire apartment building. The cleanliness astounded me. With the amount of visitors St. Peter’s receives
each day, I saw barely a speck of dirt on the floor nor grease spots on the pillars. The reverence of all the people inside this massive church was either out of respect for their God or out of respect for the builders of this magnificent structure. I tried wrapping my head around how St Peter’s Basilica was originally built by hand prior to expansion. The human ability to create something of this magnitude was astounding. I guess the builders wanted the visitor to think about how God has given us the innate ability to create. Around the outside of the structure are glass cases of popes that have been embalmed and are on display. The altar is about the size of a small cabin; a miniature building inside of a monstrosity. A friend of mine decided to buy us tickets to the top of the Basilica for a view. For a few Euros, you can climb countless stairs to the top for a view of Rome. The souvenirs are a bit odd, like an ashtray with Jesus, the Pope, or Mary. If the souvenirs do not interest you can then head towards the edge of the building for a 360 landscape view of the ancient city of Rome.
As we walked down the steps back into the main part of the basilica once again, I could only think of how much food, clothing, or health care could have come from the amount of money that goes into maintaining this structure. I try not to focus on the past and look towards what the Church has done for people around the world in the present. I hope that the amount of time and money spent in the past on this creation is willingly transferred to those in need today.