Lake Charles American-Press from Lake Charles, Louisiana on August 19, 1962 · Page 58
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Lake Charles American-Press from Lake Charles, Louisiana · Page 58

Lake Charles, Louisiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 19, 1962
Page 58
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Page 58 article text (OCR)

ILLUSTRATION BY NORM BAER no lights. The Via Appia was dark and full of elusive shadows as we clattered over ruts thousands of years old. We talked little, asking only occasional questions, to which the driver muttered incomprehensible answers. When we approached the Colosseum, he drew the carriage to a halt about 100 yards away and told us in his heavy accent: "I wait here." His tone said plainly that he considered us lunatics. It was nearly 10 o'clock. We climbed out of the fiacre and started across the pavement to the dark, looming walls of this long-muted scene of Roman circuses and massacres. • Our nocturnal junket in a Roman horse and buggy had started out as something of a lark. But now we found ourselves silent. The only sound was the scraping Suddenly, I heard Fulton's deep voice: "Will, look!" There before us, spilled out in moonlight, was the stark shape of a cross. of our footsteps. There were no guards, no locks, no gates to keep us out. The only other intruders were the shafts of light from the rising moon which splintered through the walls. Fragments of the Colosseum's crimson history came into my thoughts. It had been begun 40 years after the Crucifixion. It had been the setting of gladiatorial contests for some 400 years. Here Nero started the public slaughter of human beings whose crime was that they were Christians. We walked through the archways into the dark area directly below the tiers of stands and groped our way out of the shadows to the edge of the arena itself. We stopped, caught up in the sudden encircling reality of the setting. A tOUND US, in the oval of silence, I could almost picture the crowd, could almost hear the shouting, the stamping of feet, the cry for more victims. For an intense moment, I was deeply moved by the lonely handful of men and women—and children—who loved a loving Saviour so much that they pitted their small numbers against the greatest empire in the world. How mighty their faith must have been, yet how frail and futile it must have seemed to the Roman spectators. We were only about 30 feet away from the arena center. The stands and their far, half-heard echoes seemed to die away. Suddenly, I heard Fulton's deep voice at my side: "Will, look!" His hand pointed toward the earth directly in front of us. There I saw, spilled out in moonlight on this ancient and blood- washed sand, the stark, unchallengeable shape of a cross. Was it merely accidental? Was it just an optical effect caused by moonlight sifting in through the crumbling old walls? A thousand explanations might be offered, but for me there was only one. That cross in the sand was the symbol of the final victory of the spirit. All the Caesars were gone, but the Cross and its meaning remained. How long it glowed before us in that arena, I cannot say precisely; two minutes, or three at the most. A cloud soon covered the moon—and the symbol was gone. Fulton and I never spoke of that night again. It was something we both kept locked within us. Years later, I was to come back to my original Episcopal faith and in my maturing discovery of God and His love, the sacrifice symbolized by the Cross took on a meaning I could only grope for on that strange night in Rome. Did the glowing cross in the sand mean as much to my father as it did to me? Was the symbol in the moonlit Colosseum the beginning of his powerful, reborn faith? Deep within me, the answer is very sure. now... I: 1 M* M* *** i i i ASTHMA won't choke off mr PJUO lets you to active in comfort ... EVEN FOR 1 MINUTE i-MI-action 'ound loo >iow f or severed ft acKs Discover -mst medication that onngs ' r ee breathing -elie* n seconds NMintatfmist. MMl«diM»tfc« ractfy to l Actaoncwitect. Unlike tablets winch may take as long as a half hour to act, you feel Asthma- Nefrin's relief in less than a minute. 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