A visit to Monte cassino

26 Feb

Yesterday I went to Monte cassino and proved that God exists.

I thought that it was three hours away but it turned out to be one and a half hours away from the city of Rome. The day was beautiful, with sun most of the day. It was a bit cold, being early November; of course I had a coat and my faithful grey-black woolen scarf that I have recently acquired. We talked of this and that, many times escaping the bitter cold by stopping under the sun.  Once, waiting for someone to join us, I stood in the sun, with my face a little inclined upwards, and closed  my eyes with my hands in my pockets, not caring for a moment what the others were saying. I listened to the sun rays as they made contact with my skin, warming me in the process. I smiled. It felt good.

My thoughts escaped to a long time ago when I was in primary school in a science class. The teacher happened to find one of my classmates with her sweater on at 12 noon. It must have been very hot, and she must have been sick for she had her sweater on at that time. Anyway, the teacher made a comment to the effect that if she didn’t take her sweater off, she wasn’t getting vitamin D. It was not a particularly striking memory, so I quickly forgot about it. I don’t know a lot about the vitamin D, I only knew that it felt good to absorb the rays as I was doing, with a smile on my lips. I mean, the sun is the most natural thing in the world and we only realize its existence when it’s absent or when it overworks itself in summer. I think that the God who created the sun must be a joyous person; he must love play and have fun in general.

Why do I come to such a conclusion? Because the sun makes me smile, makes me close my eyes and long for my beautiful tropical motherland, makes me want to take off my shoes and roll on the grass, makes me want to shout and run around like butterflies do. I think that the sun is great, it is also a miracle. The person who put it there must be powerful, like God. He must also be such a one as who is like a mother, knowing what things are pleasant for their children, what they enjoy. Please God, let it be there always, pleeeeaaase!

The monastery is located on top of a hill.

St. Benedict founded it in the 6th century and despite four destructions: the lombards, the Saracens, earthquake and World War II, it still stands as majestically as ever. I instinctively knew why the founder of the monastic life chose it. It is very easy to fall into contemplation while up there, with the wind in your face and the hills and the little settlements far away roll out before your eyes. I forget about such things as exams and assignments in a second. The sunset is spectacular, it lasts longer that when one is on flat ground. The sky suddenly wears an assortment of colours; it looks like a natural fashion show.  It is one of the most amazing wonders of the world.

After a quick tour of the premises, we enter the cathedral. It is all newly done, after the bombings in the war. But at a glance one can hardly tell. The multi-coloured marble mosaics on the walls and the floor looks like it was done in the renaissance. The monks are at vespers. They stand around the altar, the only illumined place in the whole cathedral. Their Gregorian chant lifts up to the high ceilinged room and is swiftly and gently carried over the dimly lit atmosphere. An organ accompanies their sung prayers and the incense halts reluctantly before heading heavenward. Several people follow from the pews, devout. Everyone watches, silent. A prayer is led, there is a response, then another prayer and so on and so forth. During the intervals, you could hear a pin drop. After about twenty minutes, the concluding prayer is said and they all go out in a procession.  As we head towards the crypt, I think that God must have been listening, pleased.



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