The first time I saw St Peter's it was night . . . it looked like this. It is such a beautiful memory for me. It was the first time I went to Rome - I was a Protestant - protesting in my heart - seriously - with a lot of misinformation. None of the things I had been taught were true. NONE - spell that with caps! N-O-N-E.
This was in the 70s and I said to my husband, as we went in the first morning, "You know I am not going to like this." He said, "Why would you ever say such a thing?" I made a very nasty remark - but the moment we entered, not four feet into St Peter's, I almost fell over. It was NOT the beauty - although it was beautiful - it was NOT that. I gasped, actually. It took me 30 years to know it was the Real Presence - it could have been in an underground cave set up for Mass - or in a small corner Catholic Church in a small American town. I knew that day - the day of my bad attitude - I belonged there - in the Church where there was the Real Presence but I did not know about the Real Presence. I sat for a long time that first day and went back the second day and sat a long time. I loved the Lord even then but . . .
Thirty (30) years later I went to Confession there - at St Peter's in Rome - to confess that I had said "No" to God (30 years ago) but finally we both had said "Yes" and we were both Catholic. I told the Priest in the Confessional that I had loved the Lord and served Him all those years but had never really known real worship - the Real Presence - until we were Catholic. Never. That, he understood.