“I will build my church,” Jesus declared (Matthew 16:18). And what a magnificent and agonizing process has unfolded for two millennia. Essential to this work is the formation of living stones — men and women drawn from the quarry of sin, whose lives now testify to gospel grace.
But how does Christ construct his church? One answer is suggested inside the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, in letters six feet tall, where Christ’s promise is written in Latin: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church . . .” Illumined by encircling windows, these words sit as a crown atop the crypt of the apostle himself, who is hidden far beneath the high altar, a reminder of the authority given to Peter’s heir who sits upon the papal throne.