Big Beautiful World 15 — Candles, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy

It’s a big, beautiful world out there. Let’s stop trying to screw it up. 

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is a gorgeous church with an enviable location, at a major juncture on the Grand Canal in Venice. The basilica is the result of a bargain the Venetian Senate made in 1630 with God as plague was sweeping through the city; stop this plague (which had already killed about 150,000 Venetians), said the Senate, and the Virgin Mary will get a church built in her honor. Boom. Plague stopped. There’s really not much else one could do, could they?

Because of political wranglings and disputes over land, and the enormity of the task of building a basilica in a swamp, Santa Maria della Salute was not completed until 1682. And I’m fairly certain this well-worn, wax-covered votive table has been providing the platform for thoughts to drift skyward from, since Day One.

This table has seen some prayer action, fo’ sho’.

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