Station Church of Rome: 5

The practice of early Roman Christians of visiting the tombs of the martyrs became the Lenten “statio” of processing and gathering at a different church each day. This gives us the name “Stational church”

— Dominica Prima in Quadragesima — Statio ad S. Joannem in Laterano —

Interior Of St. John Lateran In Rome, Jan Van Londerseel

The Lateran is the Cathedral of Rome, the Cathedral of all Cathedrals. It is the station church of the First Sunday of Lent.

Lent is a season of penitence. What does that mean? It is not just a personal thing for each of us. But the season is oriented from its origins as a season of reconciling sinners in the Church, and in forming catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the Paschal Vigil. We can recall this as every year the catechumens of the diocese of Rome gather at Saint John Lateran on this First Sunday of Lent. let us also join this journey, and make a true return to Christ. A return to our baptismal and chrismal joy as baptized and confirmed members of the mystical Body of Christ.

We should be encouraged by this reality, an ecclesial reality which we typically disregard or altogether forget. Rome is a very small place, and so are your parishes and diocese, I am sure. Rome, as the Pope alludes to quite often, is also a hotbed of gossip, calumny, and slander. Over the years of my adult life, in hearing this or that story about this or that person, it could be very tempting to question their integrity. And yet, I see these very people receiving the Blessed Sacrament! And how beautiful of a reality this is! I have, we have, NO reason to judge the souls of others, but instead we should rejoice that our fellow brethren our living a sacramental life, which is union with Christ, AND union with all of the whole Church. Let that sink in.

I say this because this is a huge scourge in the Church — mere men have no capability to judge the soul of another person. And yet, our tongues cause division; our tongues SEEK division.

Leave this behind, and meditate on the ecclesial communion of the mystical Body of Christ.

Tintinnabulum of the Basilica — one of the signs of a Basilica

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