The Roamin' Roman

Benvenuto! You have happened upon the blog of a wandering Catholic American college student studying for a year in Rome, the Eternal City. You will find here my pontifications, ruminations, reflections, images, and ponderings on my life in Rome. Ciao!

Tuesday, December 20


Not much to report from Rome today, the anticipation is building towards Christmas of course, and classes are winding down. In fact, as a group we only have one more class (Italian) tomorrow and then we are on break for two weeks. After that it will be a mad rush for a good long while - last-chance travels and finals at the end of January, then most of the students (only here for a semester) going home and a week later a bunch more coming to join us for the spring semester. Those of us who are here a year are going to be feeling like the eye of the storm I think!

Rome is "looking a lot like Christmas" these days, even without snow (it is pretty dang cold here though... Maybe it's just that my Minnesota-tough blood has gotten thin!). The streets are all hung with lights, trees are up all over the place, people are out and about. I have no real plans for Christmas, other than to attend Midnight Mass at the Vatican. A lot of people are traveling over the break, others have family coming over - so it will be pretty quiet here. I might just stay here the whole break and relax (and write a massive book report for Sr. Helen's class... due right after break. Ugh.). I might try going up to Venice, perhaps, since I hear that the Basilica of St. Mark has finally been fully cleaned and restored.

One final thing I thought I'd pass along - over at the Pontifications blog Al Kimel has put up a nice reflection on the last Advent sermon by Fr. Cantalamessa (preacher to the papal household). Particularly fitting for us to recall in this last week of Advent, I think, Fr. Cantalamessa had some good words to say on how important it is for us all to keep in mind the beautiful gift that only God can give and only we can accept - justification.

Al had these comments to add to the topic:

"I am persuaded that the faithful preaching of grace is not a matter of reciting formulas. Between the heresies of universalism and limited atonement is the mystery of salvation, and this mystery is not reducible to slogans. Salvation is a gift. We cannot earn it. We cannot merit it. It is granted to us unconditionally. Yet somehow the gift of salvation necessarily involves us in love, faith, and obedience, without which we cannot be saved, will not be saved. No theological magic wand can dispel the terrible possibility of damnation. We sinners need our preachers to tell us this, too.

Faithful preaching of the gospel, therefore, requires a wide-range of sermons. There will be sermons that declare to the baptized, in the name of Christ, the unconditionality of God's love and mercy. There will be sermons that call upon the baptized to repent of their sins and urge and empower them to walk in holiness and love. There will be sermons that encourage the baptized with the promise that their perseverance in faith and good works will be rewarded by God in the kingdom. And there will be sermons that warn the baptized of the terrible consequences of disbelief and sin. In the course of the year, all of these sermons will be preached. But surely the dominant note of our preaching must be grace, that wondrous gift of our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sake and for our salvation was conceived in the womb of the Holy Vigin and became Man."

Go read the whole post over at Pontifications (Al also has links to the complete texts of Fr. Cantalamessa's sermons too).


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