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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ever Ancient, Ever New

A number of years ago, the Vatican authorized construction of a new parking garage. In the midst of the project, workers discovered some ancient Roman relics. The work on the garage stopped and a great archaeological expedition commenced. Only in Rome! Now, three years later, scholars have unearthed what has been styled "a little Pompeii" and have opened it to the public so that they might catch a glimpse of Roman life in the 1-4th centuries A.D.
Among the many artifacts, a most touching find was the burial site of an infant: "From specially constructed walkways, visitors can look down on some skeletons, including that of an infant buried by loved ones who left a hen's egg beside the body. The egg, whose smashed shell was reconstructed by archaeologists, might have symbolized hopes for a rebirth, officials at a Vatican Museums news conference said Monday."

How many times has this tender little scene been repeated in this valley of tears? There is something so very human in this simple tribute to a beloved child who died. It points to universals--the love of parents for their children, the hope of life after death, the longing in the human heart for God. A simple little grave can say so much. Fittingly it is in the shadow of St. Peter's. Perhaps we can hope that the graces that flow through the Church embraced this parvulus Dei and brought him to tender arms of his Father in heaven.