Awestruck is what I am. Standing on a parquet marble floor, spinning around in a complete circle, and then tilting my head straight up; the sheer opulence of St. Peter’s Cathedral blows my mind. If all this was designed to honour an omnipotent God, I sure hope He’s pleased!
Walking across the polished marble floors, the surfaces seem almost worn down in places by millions of visitors. People praying and seeking the presence of God. Yes I was impressed. Artists, architects, master craftsmen have designed all this; humans built it. Our creativity created all it’s splendour. But who did we build it for? And why was it built at such cost?
Every huge darkened room had an other-worldly feel to it. Under breathtaking murals painstakingly painted on all the ceilings we stood in awe, our necks thrown back, our jaws open.
I wondered at the magnitude of it all. If there were no existence of God, why would any corporate organization spend so much time and money on such huge cathedrals to worship Him in? To whom goes the glory? Man or God? Because this was decadence I could never have imagined.
But it wasn’t until streams of light suddenly poured in through the windows that I actually felt God’s presence. The shivers down my back. The heart catching. The breath trembling. To me, it didn’t seem like God was in these rooms until then. The sun shining through the glass was simply the way He magnified his power even over man-made architectural beauty!
Come on. I’ll zoom in through the sunbeam in the picture above and show you what’s in the golden orb of stain glass for you. Can you see the hand of the female statue reaching upward in the lower left corner? She’s trying to touch the Spirit radiating from the dove. I think that’s me in stone! The surrounding statues are saturated with Spirit. They seem ready to burst into life.
God illuminates what man has built. Light will always overcome the darkness by its very nature! Even in the gaudy intricate details, through hallway after hallway of busy crowds.
So when sunlight broke through an opened window it was even more beautiful. We were so lucky to come on a sunny winter day.
Here’s another window where we stopped and looked out. Fresh new oxygen cut through the musty oldness of the air and flowed into the busy corridors.
Winding down circular stairs four floors deep, we came across such strange exhibits, some of the “wonders of the world.”
I swear I didn’t touch them but those ornate and glossy vases certainly called out to me in their golden hue. Statue after stone statue of perfectly portioned humans stood watching us go by.
However, I read on one of the information plaques that centuries ago, some of the statues had their penises broken off by vandals. So one of the Popes ordered fig leaves to be crafted and attached to the remaining statues to cover their privates. I wonder, was it to protect the artifacts or was this Pope just a little too pious? 😉
Strange statues of ancient gods. Why is there one carved in marble with a lion’s face? Or why does this one sport a bull’s head on its shoulders?
An ancient passage in the Old Testament records the prophet Ezekiel’s encounter of some light flashing living machine, the centre like glowing metal, coming down out of the sky with four creatures upon it. Four different heads; the face of an ox, a lion, an eagle and a man! Each with feet and human hands with wings attached. It seemed to be powered by lightning flashing between them Ezekiel 1:8-10. That certainly sounds like some kind of UFO to me!
But then we stumbled on this statue. Where in ancient scripture is a character with the head of a dog? Let me know if you figure that out!
The inside of an Egyptian tomb is covered with hieroglyphic symbols in faded gorgeous colour.
An authentic and fully displayed Egyptian mummy rests in a room full of ancient artifacts.
Maps of Italy, Greece, Sicily and middle east countries of the old world adorn one long hallway. The rich colour and details seem to vibrate because look at the light source. Sunshine is pouring through the open window!
There’s even a skewed one of North and South America. It’s the new unexplored world waiting for its rich resources to be discovered.
I love this symbol warning the first ship masters to beware of the monsters in the deep blue sea!
Huge tapestries hung on the walls of one hallway depicting glorious scenes of history. Up close you can see the colour of the threads differentiating each shade.
And look how Egypt influenced even the early Catholics. High above on the ceiling, the sarcophagus of an Egyptian Pharaoh is painted into the corner of an elaborate panorama of God and angels.
Oh, how I wish I could decipher the ancient hieroglyphics to read their meanings. Carved into the top of the sarcophagus is the epithet of a great ruler from civilization thousands of years ago.
Room after room roll out in royalty. See how the sun spotlights this chariot?
The rich detail in some of the artwork astounds me. My own easel and oil paints are waiting for me at home gathering dust. My God yes, I am inspired!
The carved murals fascinate me too. Like this one with fish swimming among the dead corpses floating down the Nile River.
What dramatic story is being told in these hieroglyphics? It looks like a powerful female god with a phallic symbol on her head, but hey, that’s just my interpretation!
And what about this winged God-king manipulating a strand of human DNA on the tree of life? We have 99% of the same genetic makeup found in apes and chimpanzees. So that’s my interpretation of man’s creation!
A stone carver isn’t an artist that just makes pretty pictures. What kind of grand passion would you have to have, to pick up a hammer and chisel and then spend decades carving a vital message into stone? This meaning has to have vast importance for future centuries of humanity.
And that perhaps is the purpose for the Vatican. It’s an elaborate display for the omnipotent presence of God on our planet.
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Jane is the author of: The Celestial Proposal: Our Invitation to Join the God Kind. Purchase the book on Amazon.com.