The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Gesu, joy of Ignatius’ desiring

And what are you doing for the feast of St. Ignatius?

I’m remembering a pilgrimage we took to Rome in 2000, for the Jubilee. One of the places we visited was the famous Gesu, where the saint is buried and some of his memorabilia is on display.

It’s a stunning church, with some jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork, including one of the most painful and poignant depictions of the crucifixion I’ve ever seen. It’s a larger-than-life display with more wounds and scars than even Mel Gibson could imagine. To meditate before it is to feel humbled, moved, and deeply saddened.


But Good Friday was followed by Easter Sunday — and all you need to do is gaze up at the incredible ceiling, pictured on the left, to realize what that sacrifice meant.

The Jesuits have a very good website about the Gesu, describing the art and how it was recently restored.

Another vivid memory for me is the museum next door, which has some of St. Ignatius’ vestments on display. Biggest shock: he wasn’t much taller than my wife. Maybe 5’4″.

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