A reflection from my recent Rome pilgrimage.
The building that houses the rooms of St. Ignatius, in Rome, where he lived the last years of his life, is adjacent to the great Jesuit church Gesu.
The rooms are wonderfully spare, with whitewashed walls and stone floors and low, wood-beamed ceilings. When you walk upstairs you see the simple wooden desk where Ignatius wrote and the simple wooden chair where he sat. Light comes through small, latticed windows.
Gesu is completely different. You walk in and the Baroque is exploding everywhere, angels and saints and colors and clouds billowing and rising all the way to the great dome in the center, every surface emblazoned and curlicued.
But here’s what a guidebook says, and I think it’s completely wrong: that Ignatius would have been “embarrassed” by Gesu. By the contrast.
As if our own taste has to be everybody’s.
As if it’s not possible for a person to like more than one kind of thing.