Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our First Pilgrimage Together...of sorts

     I hesitate to call the visit Kevin and I made to the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes our first pilgrimage together, but technically I think it was. On the way home from my aunt Florence’s funeral in Vestal, New York, we stopped at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Our first time on campus, we couldn’t find any bathrooms, the chapel, or the grotto. We got out of the car and Kevin took some pictures of the golden statue of the Blessed Mother way off in the distance, then I said it was okay if he wanted to keep going. I knew he was eager to go home, and I really appreciated how loving and considerate he’d been in taking care of everything so I could be present for and with my family during a difficult time.
     We couldn’t find our way around the campus in our car, so we ended up getting back on the highway. When Kevin saw a sign for the grotto at the next exit, he said we might as well take it since we were already there. Far be it from me to argue when Kevin’s suggesting we do something spiritual and/or religious together, so we went.
     The winding road through the forest was quite beautiful. We walked quietly, as the signs on the path requested silence. The weather was perfect, the scenery gorgeous. When I saw a small chapel on the way to the grotto, I decided to go in while Kevin went on ahead.      The doors were stained glass, so I couldn’t tell from outside what was inside. I opened the door and immediately knew that the small building was a Blessed Sacrament Chapel open to pilgrims for Adoration. No one else was in the chapel when I entered. I knelt before the tabernacle to pray. There was a vase of pink roses on the left-hand side of the tabernacle. On the right-hand side, there were fresh, red roses, stark and upright in a vase.
     I thought about how God had told me—or shown me rather—many years ago that He sees me as a magenta pink rose in full bloom with dewdrops on the petals.
     Seeing these pale pink roses made me think that I can choose to fade and die by remaining my old or false self or I can become the red roses—healthy, colorful, truthful, passionate, loving, and giving of self. I offered the Lord my mind, body, and spirit, my whole life and our marriage, once again.
     I smiled and thanked God when we came to the grotto and Kevin knelt down before the Blessed Mother in prayer. I stood behind him with my hand on his shoulder, giving thanks and marveling at the conversion that has taken place in him (and me) since he and I first met. So much has come about through the intercession of the Blessed Mother bringing us ever closer to the Father, Her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, and her Beloved Son Jesus.
     Lord, thank You for the people, places, and circumstances that have brought us ever closer to You, Your love, forgiveness, mercy, Truth, peace, joy, compassion, healing, gentleness, kindness, generosity, and wisdom. Amen.
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