"Si chiude . . ." the Italian man said, ushering everyone out of the church of San Luigi Francesi.
It had been my first visit back to Rome since I had lived there ten years prior, and I wanted to take a few more moments to linger at the chapel with the paintings by one of my favorite artists, Caravaggio. Small groups of tourists had passed on, but I continued to stand there, praying with these masterpieces that depicted three poignant moments from the life of Saint Matthew.
I resonated with the sentiment of Saint Matthew that Caravaggio seems to express in painting of "The Calling of Saint Matthew."
As Jesus extends His arm to call this new Apostle, the figure of Saint Matthew points to himself as if to say with his body language, "Who, me?"
How often I have felt that others are called to do great things and become Saints, but that the gifts I have or even who I am could never amount to much?
Praying with this painting I questioned if I had really felt Jesus' call for my own life. Do I really believe I am invited to be His? Do I feel convicted of my calling to sanctity, and if so, do I truly "live in a manner worthy of the call [I] have received" (Ephesians 4:1)?
"Si chiude . . ." the man said again, shaking his keys and insisting that the church be closed and locked. One last moment to take in these paintings, and I lifted up a prayer of surrender asking for the intercession from Saint Matthew on my life and work. As I left the church to meet my friend for dinner, I tucked into my heart these precious moments of beauty and encounter with God.
Whether the moments of your life are ever depicted in famous artwork, your life is called to become a beautiful masterpiece, guided by the hand of our Creator God.
How do you respond as Jesus points to you today and says, "Follow me"?