My wife and I were married on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. At Lourdes, the year before, Our Lady turned us around and pointed us back towards God and His Church. We went to Rome for our honeymoon, and while we were there, we took in the history of our Church. We were young, and wanted to walk everywhere, so as not to miss anything of the Eternal City. We weren’t prepared for just how far of a walk the Catacombs were from our hotel. My wife was a good sport, but her limits were being pushed (a pattern that would continue throughout our marriage).
The golden Roman sun was warming us as we walked for hours to the Catacombs of St. Sebastian. I had a map, (this was before the days of cell phones and GPS), and was trying to take the most direct route possible. We entered a narrow road, and were treated by new scenery. We were walking down a very long and beautiful Italian garden, with landscaped trees and bushes, statues of Saints and the thought that we were almost to our destination. We were giddy to be in Rome, and to be newly married. Despite our giddiness, my wife was getting tired, and her feet hurt… not to mention that she had to use the restroom. But, I consoled her that we were almost there.
As we walked down the long and narrow road to the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, we both noticed that a fence appeared to our left and to our right. My instincts took notice, because I realized that the fence didn’t have any way through. We were forced to either continue on straight ahead, or go back. But, I wasn’t alarmed, because we were almost there… and the Catacombs should be straight ahead.
The Honeymoon is Over
My wife’s problems were approaching a critical point, and she needed some facilities, and a place to rest her tired feet. The walk to the Catacombs was longer than I expected. We finally reached the end. Little did we know that it wasn’t just the end, but it was a dead end! The fences that accompanied us on our left and on our right came together in front of us. We were trapped! Upon realizing this, my wife understandably became upset, and I didn’t have a plan. The only solution that I could think of was to go back the long way, and get around the fence. However, I wasn’t brave enough to suggest this. At this dead end, however, there was one thing that gave us hope.
Enclosed in a corner of our little trap, was a most beautiful grotto for Our Blessed Mother. I suggested to my wife that we should kneel down and pray a rosary, for no other reason than just to present ourselves to Our Lady. I didn’t know what to expect, because, like I said, I had no plan. We both calmed down and prayed the rosary. Immediately after we finished, a car pulled up to the gate (that we didn’t even realize was there) at the dead end of the fence. A driver got out, went over to a keypad and opened the gate. We ran over and waved our arms at the driver, who immediately understood, and let us through the gate.
We were both elated! We made it out of the dead end, out of the trap. We walked through the gate, and immediately after we got through, we could see the entrance to the Catacombs of St. Sebastian. My wife had access to a restroom and a place to rest her tired feet.
The Lesson We Learned
We were on our way to the Catacombs, which is where the Saints and Martyrs reside. We genuinley wanted to reach the Catacombs, but we were seduced by what looked like a short cut. However, it turned out to be a dead end, and it demoralized us when we realized we had no way out. Our Lady opened to door (that we didn’t even know was there), and upon walking through the door, we were greeted by the Saints and Martyrs in the catacombs, and rest for our weary bodies.
Our Lady taught me that She can open the door to Heaven for us… for Heaven is where the Saints and Martyrs reside. Satan has laid a trap for us, and we walked right into it. It might look hopeless now, but go to Our Lady, pray Her rosary daily, wear Her scapular and have the most tender affection for Our Blessed Mother. She will open the gate of Heaven for Her children. She will show us the way out of this trap, this dead end. Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!
Catacomb of Saint Sebastian
copyright 2017 Google
Gate at the Ingresso Catacombe di S. Callisto (near the entrance of the Catacomb of St. Sebastian)
copyright 2017 Google