Monday, April 23, 2012

Our last site visit for the course brought us to the Colosseum.  The picture above is taken inside the Colosseum, and you can see the Arch of Constantine as well as part of the Roman Forum behind the students.

This class was a powerful one for me.  Standing in the Colosseum, where clearly much blood was spilled, we spoke yet again of the martyrs who, according to tradition, died in this arena and in others like it across the Empire.  We talked a bit about what was going on in those games, which celebrated the Roman gods and the Roman emperors' violent power over the bodies paraded into that arena.  What must it have meant for martyrs like Ignatius of Antioch (by tradition, martyred in that very space) or Perpetua and Felicitas (martyred in a space like that), to show no fear of the death that awaited them, to show only trust, not that they would be saved from certain death, but that the love of the true God is stronger than death?

Such witnesses proclaim such a deep faith in God's providence, faith that all will come out according to God's will in the end, that I find it very inspiring.  Standing in this space and recalling such witnesses together with these great students was a great way to close our course together.  (Well, the final exam will follow, but that's a different sort of thing!)

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