We're back home after two weeks away. It was a wonderful trip. Rome with all its magnificence and beauty and antiquity. Experiencing the living reality of the Catholic faith at a joyful mass said by the Pope, packed with pilgrims from all over the world, celebrating the canonization of 5 new saints. One from Brazil, one from India, one from England, one from Switzerland, one from Italy. (I think I got that right, but maybe not.) The Pope has a remarkably gentle voice, full of tenderness and consolation. He sounds tired, though. What a cross he must be daily carrying.
We got some great time with our host priest friend. Lots of laughter and lively, clarifying and encouraging theological conversation, plus great food. We need more genuine friendship between priests and laity, imo. It would help so much with the terrible problem of clericalism afflicting us all. Bumped into my priest cousin too, out of the blue. It seems impossible to go to Rome without bumping unexpectedly into somebody from your life. It's like a foretaste of heaven, where we'll see everyone we love, without anymore pain or tension or awkwardness.
Then, every time I go to Holland, I fall deeper in love with all things Dutch. The charming orderliness of the landscape. The placid, contented cows and everywhere you go.
The lovely city centers, the food! the shopping! the thoughtful, kindly, omni-competent, amazingly relaxed people! Jules' wonderful family. It makes me regret how preoccupied and out of sorts I was when we lived there when the kids were little, and I hadn't yet learned how to be myself. I also regret that thirty years into marriage, I still don't have a very good grasp of the language. I'll have to work on that. Anyway, I hope we'll get more time there in the years ahead.
Even so, it was great to come home yesterday. I know jet lag is coming, and tomorrow I may feel depressed and exhausted. I may decide I never want to travel again. But today I'm thinking that alone for the joy of coming home, I should go away more often. I feel so happy with my family and my home and my town and Benedict's school, where I went to mass this morning. Just me and the priest and the religion teacher, who's also an FUS alum. It's all so good and beautiful.
This is not a normal post, I realize, but I wanted to record my experience, because it's an unusual one for me. I'm a high-strung, melancholic person, who too often experiences things negatively. I see and suffer the faults and problems and shortcomings of myself and the world around me. Today, I'm getting a lovely reprieve, which gives me a great sense of hope for what's coming next. Deo gratias.