I said I would fill you in occasionally with details and photos of my daily routine.
Today started early and, as most days, it was rather long. I was at it by 0630. After Mass, office, scanning news, catching up on the Pope in Turkey, lunch with a friend (a fellow staff member of the COL Forum) I have been on the fly until meeting some folks for supper… mercifully at a place near where I live. It is nearly 1 am now.
Lunch was at one of my favorite places for its balance of high quality food, friendly folks, and good prices and great location. You will rarely go wrong at Polese. If you go, tell ‘em Fr. Z sent you.
Today’s bonus was the surprise that they had some telline. Telline are tiny little clams, smaller and with a different flavor than the usual clams one gets here, vongole.
This is what telline look like:
Eating these little things is like eating the ocean. They have a much more intense flavor that the vongole. Alas, they are becoming very rare. I don’t remember the last time I saw them in Rome, though I would get them more often down in the castelli romani. Just to give you some scale…
See how small they are? They are a lot of work, but worth it. And if you want to wash ‘em down, try a cold Orvieto…
The only problem is that after such a pleasant lunch you then have to go back to work!
This afternoon found me back in the reference room of the library of the Augustinianum, the Patristic Institute located next to St. Peter’s Square.
You can see my little notebook computer on the table.
I made my way through St. Ambrose’s funeral oration for the Emperor Theodosius this evening, Here is a snip:
Ambrose is talking about the mother of Constantine, St. Helena and how under the influence of the Holy Spirit she found the instruments of the Passion. She had one of the nails put into a diadem for Constantine and another into the bridle for his horse. It is interesting to read this and think about how Pope Benedict is trying to remind people of the authentic roots of Europe. In any event, Ambrose says:
48. Wisely did Helena act who placed the cross on the head of sovereigns, that the Cross of Christ might be adored among kings. That was not presumption but piety, since honor was given to our holy redemption. Good, therefore is the nail of the Roman Empire. It rules the whole world and adorns the brow of princes, that they may be preachers who were accustomed to be persecutors. Rightly is the nail on the head, so that where the intelligence is, there may be protection, also. On the head, a crown; in the hands, reins. A crown made from the Cross, that faith might shine forth; reins likewise from the Cross, that authority might govern, and that there might be just rule, not unjust legislation. May the princes also consider that this has been granted to them by Christ’s generosity, that in imitation of the Lord it may be said of the Roman emperor: ‘Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.’ (Ps. 20.4)
Here is the entrance to the Augustinianum after the close of the library.
After a walk home of about a half hour, catching up on some e-mail, some reading, more office, some phone calls and a change of clothes, I hit the cobbles again to meet people for supper. Tonight for supper (no camera, sorry) it was rigatoni all’amatriciana followed by very rare entrecôte accompanied by a sturdy Primitivo from Puglia.