Visiting St. Thomas Aq., Part I

Salve, dear reader, from Lazio, Italy.

The great saint and teacher Thomas Aquinas was born in the castle in Roccasecca, now in ruins. It had a commanding view of the valley.

Down in the valley, in the town of Aquino, you can venerate the saint’s rib.

Proud of our Faithful Christian Adventurer

christopher_columbusJohn Riggins was as funny as ever in today’s Riggo Report interview.

He called Vinny Cerrato somebody’s “security blanket”…

linus blanket…To my brother Knights,

to my fellow citizens of the District of Columbia,

to all Italians, Italo-Americans, and Italophiles,

to all the sons and daughters of the New World:

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!

Beltway Battle #2: Not so much

raven

If it were me, I would have said, “It is simply too cold to be outside.” But the Redskins are professional football players, so they don’t have that excuse.

My brother had to explain to me the GU on the back of all the helmets in the NFL. May Gene Upshaw rest in peace. I thought the entire league had decided to get behind the Hoyas. (As well they should.)

Another member of the NBA Moses Movement, Drew Gooden
Another member of the NBA Moses Movement, Drew Gooden
While we are on other subjects, it is time to retire the Italian bests below.

They were fun for two weeks, but now it is time to move on to other things. I figure that by now everyone has had a chance to try the canolis at La Vittoria and to speak Spanish to an Italian hotel clerk or two.

We’ve got to move on now to new things. We can’t dwell on the past, like when it seemed as if the Redskins were actually good.

There are some new Bests above, to take our minds off other things…

bootSpecial “Bests of Italy” Edition

Best Canoli: Il Ristorante La Vittoria, Via delle fornaci, near St. Peter’s

Il Ristorante Vittoria
Il Ristorante Vittoria

Best Way to Fall Asleep Standing Up during an Afternoon Tour of One of the Patriarchal Basilicas: Eat a Plate of Gnocchi for Lunch

leoxiiiBest Way to Try the Patience of an Italian Hotel Clerk: Act Like You are doing him a Favor by Speaking Broken Spanish to Him

Best Papal Tomb: Leo XIII, over the door to the sacristy in St. John Lateran

Best Occasion for Drinking Grappa: None.

Best Way to Cross a Roman Street: In a State of Grace

Best Cure for Jet-Lag: Redskins Victory!!!

The Records of Aeneas and St. Paul

Aeneas
Aeneas
…I promise I won’t bore you with any more palavering about ancient epic poetry for a while after this little essay… But this struck me as interesting: Both Aeneas and St. Paul left for Europe for the first time from the western coast of Turkey, and both of them wound up in Rome.

I am not about to consider the question of whether or not Aeneas was a real person. What I think is interesting is this:

The memorial of Aeneas’ sea-voyage to the west, across the Mediterranean to Italy, is one of the most beautiful artistic works of all time. It is a perfectly organized whole. It is an absolute literary masterpiece. It paints the picture of the ideal Roman warrior. Vergil set out to capture the spirit of ancient Rome in flawless dactylic hexameter, and he succeeded.

Map of Aeneas' journey
Map of Aeneas' journey
On the other hand, the memorial of St. Paul’s sea-voyages, which eventually brought him to the west and to Italy, is a scattershot literary patchwork. The Acts of the Apostles tells us a fair amount about what happened. But the Acts of the Apostles is NOT a literary masterpiece. And the book does not focus exclusively on St. Paul, nor does it include the climax of the Apostle’s earthly life, his martyrdom outside Rome.

St. Paul's Apostolic journeys
St. Paul's Apostolic journeys
We also have St. Paul’s letters to fill out the picture of his grand life. But these letters obviously were not written to be memorials of the Apostle’s heroism. They are at times poetic, but in no way are they literary masterpieces. They were never meant to be. They were written to deal with particular pastoral problems. St. Paul did not think of his “legacy” while writing them; he thought only of the salvation of the souls to whom he was writing.

So Aeneas (fictional or real) has the literary equivalent of a Michelangelo or Da Vinci portrait to keep his memory alive. St. Paul has the literary equivalent of an office-building blueprint that has been torn into a thousand pieces, and about 500 of them have been found and taped back together; the other 500 are lost forever.

God’s ways are not our ways.