Zenit’s Liz Lev Comments on our Shroud Trip!

by Steve Ray on May 23, 2010

The Shroud’s Stillness; Joining the Orderly Lines in Turin

By Elizabeth Lev

ROME, MAY 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Last week I became one of the 1.5 million pilgrims (and counting!) who’ve visited the Shroud of Turin during its extraordinary display, which began April 10 and ends Sunday.

The pilgrimage was led by Steve Ray, Catholic apologist extraordinaire, and counted over 150 people. An ambitious undertaking, but then the Shroud is no ordinary object. In my one day in Turin, I saw thousands upon thousands of people taking time from work, school and even lunch (in Italy, no meager sacrifice) to meditate for a few minutes on Christ’s suffering.

The iron gray skies over Turin, the lost luggage and hair-raising trip due to the Icelandic ash cloud, couldn’t dampen the spirits of Steve’s pilgrims who, less than 24 hours after getting off the plane, got in the formidable line to pray before the Shroud. Unlike in the (much shorter) lines for the Vatican Museums or designer boutique sales, there was no cutting, hostility or impatience. People talked, prayed, sang and socialized and the time flew by. The only other time I have ever seen such order among people was in the line to view the body of Pope John Paul II after his death in 2005.

Adding to the joyous spirit of the pilgrimage were the dozens of signs lining the streets from our hotel to the Shroud exhibit warmly welcoming Benedict XVI, who had made his pilgrimage to the Shroud on May 2. The festive climate continued to the front door of the cathedral where the yellow and white floral homage to the Successor of St. Peter brightened the rainy day.

During the wait, we talked about the remarkable pilgrimage of the Shroud from Jerusalem to Turin via at least three other centers, meditated on the near-miraculous preservation of the ancient linen cloth despite fire, travel, handling and time and hashed through the results of the scientific tests, but none of these “facts” seemed to matter when standing before the Shroud.

Captivated by the faint russet imprint of the body of the flagellated, crucified, mocked and stabbed man, everyone falls silent. The contrast between the violence done to the body and the peaceful pose and the serene expression seem like a silent rebuke to “forgive those who trespass against us.”

But most striking against the “negative” imprint of the body are the “positive” crimson marks of blood on the wrists, feet, side and laced throughout the head and body. Bright against the dull colors of the Shroud, those wounds struck me as love letters, testifying to Christ’s passionate, vibrant and enduring love for man.


  • Peggy Tasler says:

    Beautiful, Liz. You added an additional dimension of reverent appreciation to our visit. Thanks again and God bless you.

  • mike Sweeney says:

    Liz, thanks so much for all the information and the backdrop you provided to us during our pilgrimage. Your love for our Lord and our Catholic faith added so much to the beauty of the places we visited, and made a great trip even better. Peace….

  • Yvette M says:

    To Liz Lev, an incredible person,
    Steve gave us the incredible opportunity of listening to you as we visited a number of places in Rome. You brought the places and history alive for us in a way that is not typically done.
    My husband and I have visited Italy twice before, have listened to local guides in historic places and museums throughout Italy, but none have touched us the way you can.
    I truly appreciated the stark difference between you and a typical local guide when we were on the tour at the Vatican. We started touring the Vatican Museum with a local guide, who was “good”, but as is typical of museum guides, was very dry…information I had read in a guide book at home to prepare for this trip. The only reason I did not walk off on my own (as I have done in the past) was because I knew the next segment would be with you. As we began walking with you, I realized that your ability to bring thing to life involved the human factor; the Catholic Christian factor, which is so rich and so full of love, from the past, the present, and as a result, the future.
    Thank you so much for being who you are, and most of all, sharing it with us. We are so blessed for having shared this time with you, and I know you are even more blessed for giving so much.
    God bless you in all you do,
    Yvette & Wayne Messing
    Troy, MI, USA

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