In today’s first reading from Acts 3, it talks about times of refreshing that come from being in the presence of the Lord. This seems like a fitting phrase for my pilgrimage. Certainly, Montserrat has been that for me. The beauty here is phenomenal. To stand in the place where St. Ignatius of Loyola dedicated his life to Our Lady has been an honour. To be able to walk the stunning countryside has been healing. I am very grateful.
I do feel as if there have been angels all around – today they were everywhere. This remarkable painting of the exodus into Egypt is in one of the chapels at the Basilica. As the Holy Family flees, they are not alone. An Angel is beside and in front of them to guard each step of the way and to lead them along the path of righteousness. Angels are ready to intervene on their behalf whenever they are needed. This is how I pray that my pilgrimage unfolds.
During the morning mass, I noticed the angels all around the altar and I remembered the story of a young boy who sat in front of me in my home parish one morning. He kept tugging on his mother’s pant leg, wanting her to look up at whatever beautiful vision he was seeing in the rafters of our church ceiling. I always wondered if he was seeing Jesus or some angels. Regardless, it is a tangible reminder that at the Eucharist we are all joined together with the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.
This beautiful angel is on route to the chapel of the Black Madonna. She made me smile today as I wondered what she had in her hands and for what purpose. If nothing else, her purpose was to refresh my spirit.
When I said that I was doing a pilgrimage in Spain, many people assumed I was walking El Camino. I am not but I was blessed today to be able to walk part of the well-known Camino which joins with the lesser-known Ignitian Camino for a while in these parts. As I did, I noticed violets growing along the path. These brought me much joy.
Tomorrow I move on to my next Ignitian pilgrimage site in Manresa, where he conceived the Spiritual Exercises. I look forward to going from the heights of this mountain to the depths of the cave. Onward!
When was the last time you experienced refreshment in the Lord?
Did you encounter any angels today?
Refresh me, Lord, as you send angels all around to minister. Amen.