When I went to Rome years ago, I visited the church of St. Agnes, as it is situated on one of the most prominent spots in the entire city: Piazza Navona.
I prayed in the chapel containing the reliquary with St. Agnes’ skull, very visible.
God forgive me, I harbored doubts as to the veracity of the skull, as it was SO TINY. Yes, St. Agnes was only thirteen, and yes, people back then were “malnourished” compared to us. But….
Happily, the Divine Providence soon provided a corrective proof. I was on a Roman public bus (shudder), and a little old teeny-tiny Roman woman boarded the bus. She was clearly over 80. And much like my own grandmother, this lady’s hair had thinned and thinned evenly to a mere wispy halo, as she aged. When the little Roman lady boarded the bus at the Ara Coeli stop, the afternoon sun put her in a semi-silhouette such that her cranium was clearly visible in the sense of shape and size.
Exactly the same as St. Agnes.
1.) Quit second-guessing this stuff. The Christians 1700 years ago were neither liars nor imbeciles. They knew exactly what happened, to whom, where, how and when. And they wrote it all down immediately, and damn-sure told their kids about it. REPEATEDLY.
2.) Also, intercessory miracles. Lots and lots of intercessory miracles. And I’m not talking, “I left the house without a scarf and didn’t die of pneumonia.” Real, actual, MIRACLES.
3.) We are, all of us, relatively speaking, GIANTS. That whole business of being forced to choke down whole milk and eggs and steak every day that was my (and your!) early childhood is all BRAND NEW. I’m 5’4″. 100 years ago I would have been 5’0″. In Italy (I have zero Italian blood), I would have been 4’9″ or 4’10”.
Meanwhile, not to get side-railed here, but has anyone noticed that Barron Trump, who is not yet FOURTEEN, is… eleven feet tall? Poor kid must be experiencing some pretty intense knee pain. The lad is growing FAST, and isn’t close to being done. Melania’s young man might be a seven-footer.
Here, from over the transom, is a photo from TODAY of the blessing of the lambs for the feast of St. Agnes in Rome.
Feel free, just for today, to relish in the abject cuteness of the little food animals.
And below, please see my favorite artist, Guido Reni’s, St. Agnes. Please forgive the watermarks and sepia-and-white. It’s the best image I could find. This is housed in Palazzo Corsini in Rome.
Finally, a truly edifying quote about St. Agnes:
“Secure in the Canon, between St. Lucy and St. Cecilia, St. Agnes is every Mass’ reminder that an Empire is no match for a girl, when that girl is out to win God’s Heart.“
Words to live by. Truly.