And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find him. For he departed, and behold he is here. – Saint Augustine
I read these words just as I was departing from home. They were at the end of the readings in the missilette on Tuesday. On Sunday, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, I served Eucharist the first time in a long time. I do occasionally serve the wine at a weekday mass, but I have not served bread for over a year. When I got up to the altar, I was aware that my heart was pounding in my chest and resounding in my ears, as if I had run a very long race. I wondered what was going on and when I listened to the small, still voice inside I heard: I am with you. My heart beats within you. My heart and your heart are one. I am with you. It was very meaningful to me as I prepared to depart.
As I begin my pilgrimage on Spanish soil, I am very much aware that Jesus walks with me. My heart belongs totally to him. I arrived without incident in Montserrat, to the breathtaking scene above. The pictures do not really do it justice – the scenery is spectacular. The day was gloriously warm-20 degrees Celsius- and the sun was shining brightly. After soaking in this scene for a few moments, I headed to the Basilica.
It did not take me long to stumble across the first encounter with St. Ignatius of Loyola. This statue commemorates the laying down of his sword and the commitment to a new way of life, one in which he dedicated his life to Mary, the mother of God. Here she is known as Our Lady of Montserrat. I returned to this place tonight after supper, long after the crowds had dissipated, to spend another couple of quiet moments in the spot where it is believed that he did this. I feel so very blessed to be here. History says that he also came in March.
I saw the Black Madonna and lit a candle for those who have been praying for me these past fifteen months. The Cami de l’Ave Maria burns brightly tonight with all the candles that pilgrims and visitors lit for their intentions.
To really feel that I was on a pilgrimage, I decided that I would take the funicular up the mountain to see the hermitage of Saint Joan and then I would walk down carrying each of the intentions of those who have been praying for me as well. I also lifted up prayers for family and friends who are angry at and/or grieving my situation. It made for an interesting experience because I had not slept very much on the plane nor have I walked more than 2 kilometres at once since surgery. I’m thrilled to say that I was able to walk over 3.5 kilometres and lived to tell the tale. The view was so spectacular that I could not help but soak it all in and feel so very grateful that my body cooperated.
As I walked down the mountain towards the little chapel of San Miguel, over and over again, I was distracted by the beauty all around me and my heart was filled with an abundance of joy. My heart and Jesus’ are joined on this journey. All is well.
Have you ever felt the heart of Jesus beating within you?
Do you remember a time when something seemed impossible and yet you were able to do it?
Jesus, Beloved, may our hearts beat as one. Fill me with your joy, courage, and strength. I am yours. You are here with me. Amen.