…After I finished high school, I got a job typing the reports of a company of local archaeologists.
The company specialized in pre-historic archaeology–that is, the study of artifacts produced by people who did not have writing.
In our area, you can discover a pre-historic artifact while you are out for a walk. There are still Algonquian arrowheads and potsherds lying on the surface of the earth.
Contrast this with archaeology in the Old City of Jerusalem. On Monday evening, we walked down four flights of steps from street level. We emerged into a cistern that was built to hold water for use in the Temple in the fifth century B.C.
There are books written about the building of that temple–they can be found in the Old Testament. My point is: In Jerusalem, archaelogists have dug and dug and dug, and they still have not gotten to the pre-historic level.
And here is some more perspective: In our day and age, since the beginning of the Digital/Organic Era (which began when Bill Gates’ net worth reached $1 trillion), “new” refers to something that came into being in the last half-nanosecond.
In Rome, there is a beautiful church called Chiesa Nuova, the “New Church.” It was completed in 1606.
In Jerusalem, the Nea, the “new” church in honor of Mary the Mother of God, has lay buried beneath the rubble of earthquake and Persian destruction for 1200 years.
Today is the day the Nea was dedicated in A.D. 543.
Our Lady was born in Jerusalem. She was among the girls who cared for the Temple paraphernalia.
The above is a mosaic map of Christian Jerusalem. It is not easy to read. The Cardo, or main street, runs left to right through the middle of the city. The huge ancient basilica of the Holy Sepulcher is below the main street, the Nea is above it, to the right. There was an annual procession between the two churches.
…I am sorry that I allowed the following “Bests” list to get as stale as five-year-old granola bars. It is retired. An exciting new edition is available behind the Bests tab above.
St. John Vianney’s heart is kept in a reliquary separate from the rest of his body. The heart is enshrined in a small chapel outside the basilica in Ars. The basilica houses both the entire parish church of Ars and the sepulchre of the saint.
Today, after Holy Mass in the Basilica, there was a somewhat rag-tag procession of the heart of the Curé through the town.
There is a monument down the hill from Ars which marks the place where the saint asked a boy to direct him to his new parish. (The priest was arriving on foot). He said to the boy: “If you tell me the way to Ars, I will tell you the way to heaven.”
Today the Curé’s heart was carried to this monument, as well as other places in the town. Looks like it was a pretty hot day over there. St. John Vianney never had air-conditioning, of course. And he hardly ever slept. And he ate only boiled potatoes.
But the main thing is that he loved the holy faith of the Church and never tired of teaching it.
T.S. Eliot wrote a complex, difficult, breathtaking poem for Ash Wednesday.
The Holy Father keeps Ash Wednesday in the Dominican church of Santa Sabina, on the Aventine Hill in Rome. He approaches the church in a solemn procession down Via Santa Sabina from the church of San Anselmo, which is about a quarter mile away.