It was only a bus or two away from the Eternal City and I remember visiting there very often during my time in Rome a few summers ago. Saint Mary Major Basilica is found on the Esquiline Hill and erected by Pope Saint Sixtus III after the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 which declared Mary as Theotokos, Mother of God. The Church celebrates its dedication as a Church building today in her liturgy!
The columns are that of the Ionic Order which have a rhythmic movement and feminine quality. They are perfectly matched with two arches above columns. These are solid posts that stand the test of time and it makes it the first greatest showcase Church built by Christians.
As we marvel at how art speaks of the Other, sings of the Divine, echos an eternal truth … we must consider that our very lives are a divine masterpiece. Actually, ours is the finest masterpiece. Do our lives carry tenderness, embody a care for the poor and vulnerable, the marginalized and oppress? After all these are qualities deemed necessary for Christ to truly dwell in us as he dwelt in the Virgin Mary.
I didn’t realize that my visit to Our Lady of the Rosary Minor Basilica in Manaoag was my most recent visit to Rome … for to go there is to go to Mary Major as it shares a very close spiritual communion with that Major Basilica. Here’s a clip of the blessing of God’s people after a daily Mass: