I'm a day behind in posting, but yesterday morning I went to St. Peter's Basilica. It was an amazing experience. I raced through the church looking for the tomb of Pope John Paul II, the first place that I wanted to visit. I asked a guide who directed me outside the basilica and then downstairs. Many popes are buried there and on my way to Pope John Paul's grave I passed and prayed at Pope Paul VI's grave. After that it was easy to find Pope John Paul's grave because of the people praying in front of it and the guide directing people past it. I was able to stop and pray with the small crowd present there.
Then I made my way to the basilica again and walked all around. Pope Pius XII is buried in the main church, as well as Blessed Pope John XXIII. (I have to admit that I was surprised recently at some letters in the Milwaukee Archdiocesan newspaper which complained about the causes of Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II being advanced and Blessed Pope John XXIII being ignored. Obviously the letter writers weren't following their Catholic news very carefully.)
The art and architecture of the main basilica is truly amazing. I took my time walking around, checking out all the large statues to see which saints were given that honor, trying to see around the crowd that gathered in front of Michelangelo's famous "Pieta," and stopping at the foot of the statue of St. Peter to touch his foot and to pray for a special intention that had been entrusted to me.
But I have to admit that the most beautiful site was behind a curtain. I walked past the curtain and the guard who was there and entered the chapel where there is 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration. As I knelt down I thought about all the beautiful things I had just seen and prayed: "But You, Lord, You are the most beautiful of all. I'm grateful to be here at St. Peter's and to see all these wondrous works of art created to give You glory. But in the end, You, here present in the monstrance on the altar, are the most beautiful of all. And I don't even have to leave home to see You. Thank You for Your Eucharistic Presence!"