So to set the stage, myself, another priest from the Pembroke diocese, and ten young adults went to WYD together! First, though, we took five days to do a whirlwind tour of
The first thing that struck me about
What struck me powerfully about
I had brought a large envelope of prayer intentions from Madonna House with me, and took a couple hours in the old basilica to go through it, praying for each intention, along with my own rather voluminous regular prayer list. Something came over me as I did this, and it became a very intense experience of intercessory prayer: Mary, help this person! Mother, come to the aid of that person! Jesus, have mercy on us! Very much in the spirit of the place.
In all that, though, it was beautiful and joyful. Where Mary is, there is joy, because where she is, the battle has been won. Our time in
Santiago de Compostela: Due to circumstances beyond our control, our time at Compostela was a little truncated. We were supposed to have a two hour guided tour; it got truncated to one hour (we had the fastest-talking English-speaking Spanish tour guide ever, though!), and that one hour tour was conducted while WYD pilgrims poured into the church from all sides. So it was all a bit chaotic and noisy. We did have a beautiful Mass there with a pilgrim group from
But my Compostela experience really was mostly one of feeling rushed and frustrated… I wanted to spend so much more time there, see it more fully, pray there more deeply. But, on reflection, isn’t this how life is? We usually want things to be just a bit easier, to go just a bit differently. We want just a bit more time to reflect, to pray, to stop. And it usually doesn’t happen: life just keeps chugging along, bearing us with it. A bit noisier and more chaotic than we would choose, the tour guide a bit hard to understand, the crowds jostling us, weird smoking objects sailing past us at high velocity. What’s it all about?
And isn’t ‘pilgrimage’ really a vast metaphor for life? We go on pilgrimage, on sacred journeys, to touch the deep reality that our whole life is a vast sacred journey to the heart of God. And this journey proceeds, not as we like it, but as God ordains it. A bit harried, a bit rushed, a bit ‘not what we had envisioned’ – well, that’s the journey! Take it as it comes, and trust the Father is going to lead you through it to Himself.
There’s something about
Let nothing disturb thee
Let nothing afright thee
All things are passing
God never changes
Attains all things
Who possesses God
Wants for nothing
God alone suffices.
And turning to us with a beautiful smile, she says to us “It’s true!” Amen, Lucia. And so, armed with that deep quiet faith in God’s sufficiency, carrying us through the seriousness of our times and the rush and chaos of our days, we got on the bus toTo be continued…