Yesterday morning I went to three churches, raising the count to ten. Sant’ Agnese fuori le Mura and Santa Costanza are in the same complex outside the walls. Outside the walls because Sant’ Agnese has as a catacomb, where early Christians were buried. Rome had a policy that no one could be buried inside the city. Then to gaze at Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa in Santa Maria della Vittoria. I’m glad I had my bus pass. In the afternoon I found myself praying for me in seven more churches. As of last night the count is up to twenty.
My intention to pray for peace in churches has me aware of all the people I pass along the streets. The sheer numbers, the multiple skin colors, body sizes, ages, languages. I am not other; I am one of them. Our uniqueness makes us one.
And then there are the obviously loving people, most likely parents, who accompany their children with special needs. At the altar at the Church of San Giovanni in Laterano a mom was supporting her adult son who was draped on her. As he drooled, she wiped his mouth. Then they walked on, arm in arm.
As I sit in this little park in the early morning it comes over me that regardless of what praying for peace means to each of us, when we think peace we become aware of the equanimity between all people. In wanting peace for myself, I have to want it for everyone.