Friday, April 2, 2010
"How will I know when I'm in it?" I asked at least five guards as I walked through the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.
"Believe me, you will know," was the answer I received in Italian each time.
After what seemed liked 40 minutes, I entered the most spectacular place, in all its glory: Cappella Sistina.
I was in the Sistine Chapel and it was more magnificent than you could ever imagine. My time was limited and, boy, was I happy I chose to see this over the Colosseum (that came during another trip).
The northern wall was devoted to the life of Jesus with scenes like his baptism by Perugino and the Temptation of Jesus by Botticelli. And, of course, Michelangelo painted 12,000 square feet of the ceiling between 1508 and 1512. I was surprised because I thought I'd be able to walk right in and view the frescoes. However, that was hardly the routine.
Since the Apostolic Palace is home to the the Vatican Library, Papal Apartments, the Government Office of the Roman Catholic Church, chapels, and the Vatican Museums, there's quite a bit of walking around to do before you can get into the Sistine Chapel.
I'm writing about this on Good Friday because the frescoes celebrate Jesus' life rather than his death. And, that's what I want to do today.
As a youngster, I always had the day out of school. And, I remember my mother telling me that we had to be silent between noon and 3 p.m., the time Jesus died. It was solemn.
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46)