I was in Rome over the weekend and a lot of beautiful things happened there! First, of course, my friend Ala’s final vows, which I attended. A lot of joy and emotions, the power of the Word and the multicultural community. I love accompanying people in their “yes” forever, because it’s an amazing moment! I also feel the responsibility of being a witness to this public obligation. After all, it should be the closest people who we are able to count on when fighting for fidelity in our vocation during a crisis – be it marriage, priesthood, consecration or any other form of giving our lives to people and God. This is why we are a community, to support each other on the way.
This time, being in Rome, I had the opportunity to see the rooms of Ignatius Loyola for the first time (thanks, Dominik!), where the founder of the Jesuits spent many years of his life and where he died. There’s always something special about touching history that changed my life hundreds of years later. With gratitude, I later also visited the church dedicated to him on the Campus Martius. A tourist attraction in this place are the frescoes made by an Italian artist, also a Jesuit, Andrea del Pozzo. The craftsmanship of these works lies in the fact that they perfectly show the illusion of three-dimensionality. We have the impression that the painted figures are sculptures coming out of the walls, and the ceiling is higher than it really is. We can even admire a large dome that is not there, but standing in the right place, we can be absolutely convinced that it is so much there and looks great.
We have an infinite number of illusions that we succumb to every day. In a world where artificial intelligence can create a perfect imitation of reality, soon we will not be able to distinguish truth from falsehood. However, it is much more difficult for us to get rid of the illusions we have about others and ourselves. Aren’t they the cause of most of our crises? We say to ourselves: ” But we were hoping!” and we lose strength to fight for what was so alive when we said our “yes”. Jesus is the master of freeing us from all illusions. He never promised that it would be easy and pleasant, on the contrary – persecution, cross, pain and tears. At the same time, in the midst of all this, a happiness so great that one cannot imagine a greater one – as witnessed by these 7 women who on Saturday vowed obedience, poverty and chastity to Him.
In today’s Gospel, speaking to the Jews, Jesus says: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” It is not any illusions that will give us happiness, but only the honest truth – sometimes painful and hard. However, how difficult it is to allow yourself to see this truth (especially about yourself). It is much easier, like the Jews, to be convinced that we are already free, so we do not need the truth.
How do we protect ourselves from illusions? As for frescoes, just stand slightly to the side. Then it is clear that what we are looking at is just a carefully prepared trap for the brain. A change of perspective also helps in the case of other illusions, and that’s why we are a community, to pull each other out of them and make our vision of the world real. Only those who can listen to others and look at things from many different angles will be able to grasp the truth which surely sets us free.
p.s. for those interested in optical illusions, a great video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBap_Lp-0oc