There is a strange silence now. For many years – no matter how hectic things
would get – the ritual of lunch with the family – Franca, Sara, Donato –
every Sunday at my mother’s house, was the most important thing on our calendar.
It was as important to us as it was to her. To tell the stories of the week, hear how the family was doing, to talk about the past, and the future.
No one remembers like a mother. No one listens like a mother.
This Sunday, and all the rest of my Sundays are dedicated to mine. Mina.
This week my sister and I both read from Ecclesiastes at our mother’s service.
We gave this edition translated by Guido Ceronetti to the church in memorial.
Ceronetti himself was a wise man and a great humanist,
as well as a poet and an artist. Ecclesiastes, the Book of Wisdom,
is a philosophical essay on the meaning of human life
that has always accompanied my important steps in life.
Written by David Schiller over a decade ago, this open
and joyous collection of sayings and ideas has been well used this week.
Reading helps in Life. Here from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci,
“ Among the great things which are to be found among us,
the Being of Nothingness is the greatest.”
Thinking of our mother is to think of our roots
in Mantua and the basilica of Sant’Andrea,
built in 15th century and finished over three hundred years later.
Here the cupola of Sant’Andrea by the architect Filippo Juvarra,
who also designed sets for plays, garden fountains and silver designs,
many talents not uncommon in the later Baroque.
The Church, sadly suffered damage in the earthquake of 2012.
It is in the heart of Mantua and is the church in which we were baptized.
It is a time for singing, and this Cherubini chorus
is the perfect representation for the joy of the spirit.
It is a close up from the famous painting by Mantegna
done around 1485 of the Madonna with Cherubim.
Mantegna was from Mantua, where our mother
was from and where we were born.
A new pope for Rome and a new leader for
so many around the world was elected this week,
with the seagull sitting on the chimney waiting for the smoke.
Some thought the bird was a sign from the Saint.
I hope that Pope Francis’ wisdom, and humility,
becomes the voice for all the inhabitants of the earth,
like St. Francis, so that the planet can heal itself.