There is a church in Rome that is so beautiful that one can forget to pray upon entering it. I mean the church of Gesu. It is the mother church of the Jesuit Order and the place where St Ignatius Loyola rests waiting for the resurrection of the dead. I think there is no area of the church that isn’t covered with paintings, sculptures, mosaics etc. For example the ceiling is so beautiful that the Jesuits came up with a clever idea to put on a table a mirror facing the ceiling so that people didn’t trip over or walk into each other as they stare in admiration for the piece of art. However the main reason that drew me to the church wasn’t the breathtaking decorum but the fact that it was one of the churches in Rome which St Eugene visited often. In fact he was in the church a few hours after arriving in Rome in November 1825. However he didn’t come to the church of its decorum either. The main reason for him to come often to the church was for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. From his writings I guess that the Jesuits held the daily adoration here. That’s why what I find amazing is that Eugene never describes what the church looked like. He described in details the other churches but there reading his diary one may think that the church of Gesu is a very plain one. I believe it simple shows us how much Eugene loved Jesus. When he was in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament he was blind to all the pieces of art surrounding him. He was entirely focused on the white Host in the monstrance, on the Eucharist. After saying my prayers I gave some time to exploring the church and in the beauty of it I found a desire to express the beauty of God and heaven. How much breathtaking view it is going to be when we stand before our Creator and Savior. What struck me when I was looking at the interior of the church was that in spite of so many details one isn’t destructed but rather absorbs the whole which can be described as awesome and still the white Host in the monstrance is more awesome.
Fr Daniel OMI
An Oblate Priest