A Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!
A Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!
Yes, Galicia: a land with an antediluvian soul whose splendor endures right up to present times. Its valleys, forests, villages, rivers and standing stones, shady corbels, rough walls, centuries-old chestnut trees, the Celtic feel that fills the atmosphere, its gentle rain that returns the present to the past… they work together to form an identity that permeates everything. Galicia! I’ve crossed into Galicia, and it’s broken into me.
I feel I’ve undergone another transformation, possibly the last one, in my evolution as a walker. Maybe it happened overnight, or today, on the way up this mountain. Or perhaps whatever I started in the mountains of León is finished now. I’m not sure if it’s an improvement, but I don’t care. I have assimilated my own smallness, my lack of understanding, my weakness and poverty of spirit. I’ve stopped fighting against myself. I’ve given myself absolution. The essential, unanswerable questions, the unreachable quests lose their validity. My insides are filled with a serene, calm sea, like the valley below, released from the action of the wind. The force that drew me on toward Compostela has turned inward and settled down into my soul. I do not need to arrive any more. The only transcendence is what I see, what I experience in the step that I’m taking right here, right now. My journey is made of pure steps. I have emptied myself, I am so immensely emptied that I feel it as a satisfied fullness.
Galicia begins, and my journey ends. I still have a few days left, as long as the Coroner allows it. Days of clear perception. My journey begins to wind up.
But this is no place for solemnity! Life is beautiful, and I am a boy child in the promised land! I think about standing in the lee of the statue to escape the wind, but of course that is not way to get ahead.
— The Great Westward Walk: From the Front Door to the End of the Earth, by Antxon González Gabarain
The Drudge Report Headline in the screenshot above is why these things matter.
Francis’ favorite atheist columnist, to whom he dishes his scandals of the moment, has published what purports to be Francis’ very clear statement denying the existence of hell. One of two things must follow this: 1) either he comes out and states publicly that he did not say this, or that he was wrong in saying it, confirming the clear teaching of the existence of hell; or, 2) the few remaining Cardinals who believe in the faith must confront him, immediately and publicly, following this matter to its logical conclusion.
THE WORLD JUST HEARD CONFIRMATION FROM THE POPE THAT HELL DOESN’T EXIST.
That is not okay.
Prelates?! Christ was betrayed on Holy Thursday.
Recall my previous post on Storming into Sigueiro? I included some photos, but nothing that could capture the wind. Well, take a moment now and thank Ed, whose videos you see here killed his phone. That led to the great phone replacement expedition of Santiago 2018, which is now hazy in remembrance and may soon be lost to the mists of time.
From The Liturgical Year:
The miracle performed by our Saviour almost at the very gates of Jerusalem, by which He restored Lazarus to life, has roused the fury of His enemies to the highest pitch of phrensy. The people’s enthusiasm has been excited by seeing him, who had been four days in the grave, walking in the streets of their city. They ask each other if the Messias, when He comes, can work greater wonders than these done by Jesus, and whether they ought not at once to receive this Jesus as the Messias, and sing their Hosanna to Him, for He is the Son of David. They cannot contain their feelings: Jesus enters Jerusalem, and they welcome Him as their King. The high priests and princes of the people are alarmed at this demonstration of feeling; they have no time to lose; they are resolved to destroy Jesus. We are going to assist at their impious conspiracy: the Blood of the just Man is to be sold, and the price put on it is thirty silver pieces. The divine Victim, betrayed by one of His disciples, is to be judged, condemned, and crucified. Every circumstance of this awful tragedy is to be put before us by the liturgy, not merely in words, but with all the expressiveness of a sublime ceremonial.
Holy Week Schedule at St. Francis de Sales Oratory (all liturgies celebrated according to pre-1955 rubrics):
Confessions 30 minutes before all Masses and Devotions
Sunday, March 25 – Palm Sunday
8am Low Mass; 9:30am Blessing of Palms w/ procession; Solemn Mass
Monday, March 26 – Holy Monday
8am Low Mass
Tuesday, March 27 – Holy Tuesday
8am Low Mass; 6:30pm Low Mass w/ devotions
Wednesday, March 28 – Spy Wednesday
8am Low Mass; 12:15pm Low Mass
Holy Thursday, March 29
6:30pm Solemn Mass
Procession to the Repository,
Adoration Until Midnight
Good Friday, March 30
8am Confessions/Stations of the Cross
3:00pm Liturgy of the
Passion & Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Saturday, March 31
9pm Easter Vigil & Solemn High Mass
followed by Blessing of Easter Food
(bread, eggs, …)
Holy Easter Sunday
Sunday April 1- Easter Sunday
8am Low Mass; 10am HIgh Mass
The title of this post does not represent an original thought of mine. But it is nevertheless true. Many faithful Catholics have maintained this point during the now more than fifty year— and pardon the coarseness of the term but it is apt—rape of the Bride of Christ.
As Patrick Archbold (himself, like many of us, an escapee from the “conservative” group) writes in this excellent piece at The Remnant, the triumph of modernism in the wake of the Second Vatican Council was enabled— palliated— by the conservative urge to hold on to a smaller and smaller piece of the entirety of what was being lost.
I was born in 1967 into a Church that had already surrendered to the enemy, I just didn’t know it. After that surrender, it became the task of successive Pontiffs to cede ground in order to maintain something that still resembled that which they inherited. The Popes that ceded the least territory to the enemy in order to “conserve” that which remained, were hailed as heroes on the global stage. Those who put up little resistance and gave ground easily had to content themselves merely with sainthood. But each in their turn gave precious ground to the enemy.
Those few faithful that refused to flee and abandon the Church altogether were told by those they trusted that all the ground ceded to the enemy was of no value anyway, that is was actually an encumbrance better jettisoned to preserve those things that really mattered. Then those things that really mattered were artfully moved into the encumbrance category and jettisoned with the rest. Better to do this, we were told, then to fight. Fighting only made things worse, made the tiger clench its jaws even tighter. Best not to wiggle and squirm, it just turns people off. This was the “conservative” approach. That we should only be concerned with the 5 year rolling average of truth and not focus on what was already lost.
It isn’t about blame but rather about finally coming out of that post-destruction, everything-is-normal mindset. And Archbold is right on what we should do now:
What we must first do is recognize that the enemy, modernism and its mitred minions, will never stop. They will never just take enough and stop. They will never be satiated. They will relentlessly continue until there is nothing left of True Religion. Digging trenches is not a strategy for victory, but merely a delaying tactic for inevitable defeat. That means we cannot just fight this fight where the current lines are drawn, our aim has to be to take it back, all of it. That means the aim must be the recovery of all Truth and return fully to traditional Catholicism in its liturgy and formulations of the Truth and every promulgated falsehood, whether direct or indirect, must be purged from the Church. Yes, traditional Catholicism is the only answer. Seeking any kind of middle ground leaves the enemy on the field. That can never be tolerated. There were those valiant men who told us this at the beginning of the onslaught, but all too many of us were not prepared to listen.
We can make no pretense that our backs are not currently to the wall. And even though most of the Church at every level has fallen into the iron grip of the enemy, we can never despair, even if we are reduced to a most pitiable state, persecuted by our own even in concert with oppressive states, seeking sacraments in secret, or worse. We have God’s promise that the Church will survive. And we further have the promise of His mother that the Church will be restored after this terrible way of the cross.
But in the meantime, we fight. There is no fleeing to the hills in hopes that we will be left alone there to rebuild Christianity. The enemy would never allow it. We must fight them on everything.
We shall fight against every unholy innovation of this dark and destructive Church, not just the new ones, but all those that have brought us to this state.
I started this blog 11 years ago with the mission to defend and promote the traditional Mass and doctrine of the Catholic Church. And to defend those brave bishops, priests and laymen who fought this fight. Whatever the reach of this blog, small or no, I intend to continue that mission. There is hope— people of faith are waking up, signs of restoration exist. But absent the extraordinary intervention of Our Lord and Lady, an intervention which is certain but of unknown timing, we must be prepared for the worst, and face it as soldiers of Christ.
Why should getting home be easy on such a journey?
Thanks to the French transportation strike, our flight from Firenze tomorrow was cancelled, and we were bumped from our flight out of Paris. Rather than waiting until Saturday, we are on a train to Milan, where—Amazing Race-like— we hope to avoid Phil-imination.
No worries, though. The Camino provides. But prayers are appreciated!😀
UPDATE: And— thanks to God, we are back home in the land of Wal-Mart and Chick-fil-A again.
I have been meaning to write this post about our arrival in Santiago de Compostela, the activities there, and some of my feelings on the enterprise. I didn’t want to end as just a travelogue, but I also wanted to avoid some kind of blogform emoticon.
After the Camino, our little party flew on to Venice so we could visit our son, who is studying here. So between touristing and visiting it has been hard to find the time. So, I’ll begin now and see where it leads.
We walked the Camino Inglés, which you can see on the above map of routes through Galicia begins in Ferrol on the Northwest coast of Spain and continues Southwest to Santiago, joining up with its other arm coming from La Coruña, just past Hospital de Bruma. We took it in six days.
The Camino was more difficult physically than I imagined, though given relative health and a will to do the thing, it was not overly hard, all things considered.
We encountered physical and meteorological challenges about which I’ve already written. Spiritually, it was incredibly satisfying, though there were challenges there, too.
On the one hand, you would think you have nothing but time for thought, prayer and contemplation. And you do. But the physical exertion required at many points makes contemplation impossible. And the immediacy of the situation, having little to veil yourself from the presence of God— it’s you, the trail, and God, and that all the time you walk. It is an inexpressible joy, but can also be intimidating.
So in the end I prayed. I offered up suffering. I begged forgiveness, sought help, and asked for miracles. Perhaps the best thing was the ability to see myself for what I really am, and to be humbled by the love of God, His beauty as seen through the majesty of creation, in the charity of others, and in the companionship of wife and friends.
I prayed more, with our group and alone. We began each day by reciting the pilgrim’s prayer. We prayed the Angelus at noon. We tried to pray all 15 decades of the Rosary each day. We assisted at Mass three of the evenings. My wife and I tried to pray compline at night. And there were lots of other times to rest in God.
We either followed the above regimen or, if weather or fatigue prevented such, I filled gaps on my own. Prayer came naturally, because it was what seemed so obvious. We had to walk and pray.
And there was ample opportunity to put virtues into practice— or fail to do so. To practice charity— or not. Within the group and without. I saw failures, and also successes.
As I’ve written so often in earlier posts, the Camino is a metaphor for life. I had many failures in my Camino, and I saw many successes. And like in life, I felt the hand of Our Lord and the care of Our Lady throughout.
We liked to say after every little signal grace or solved difficulty on the trail that “the Camino provides.” I saw that every day and felt it constantly. I kid you not.
I won’t get too Hallmark channel-ly on you, but will just relate one incident as indicative of the whole.
The night we arrived in Ferrol, bright and shiny and untested, we were approached by one of Europe’s ever-present beggars in front of the town hall. I gave him some money— I’m always reminded of Christ’s words, “Give to all who beg from you…”. Felt pretty good about myself.
But the next day, on the first morning of the Camino, nearing the same place while walking out of town I saw a beggar approaching and I literally turned my back and left him to beg from others in the group, thinking I had “done my share” the last night. After our party regrouped I learned that no one else had any cash to give the man, so he had gotten nothing.
It was then that the Lord’s words to the goats came as a stinging rebuke—“as often as you failed to do for the least of My brethren you failed to do for Me.” I thought about going back— and didn’t. It was likely too late by then anyway. So I made an act of contrition, and asked Mary to make good on what her worthless slave failed to do. And to make good when I could.
But I did not see another beggar during the rest of the Camino.
Not until, just at the end, quite near the Cathedral, Mary was kind enough to place in front of me the most disreputable looking person I saw in Spain, asking for money. I so gladly gave him the money I would have given the first beggar and then more, too. I felt so humbled and so grateful that Our Lady let put that right, and to have that peace just before the completion of my pilgrimage.
Metaphor for life? I pray for that same grace to put things right before the end of my earthly pilgrimage.
I’ll stop there. But there were so many other examples of God acting on our little way.
Coming into the Plaza of Glory, my wife and I did weep. I thanked God for letting me live to see that day. It was more and different than what I thought beforehand. Better. That’s all I want to say.
Because our hotel was on the square, we quickly dumped our bags there, then went to the pilgrim’s Office to receive our Compostelas (
partially pictured at top) and our certificates verifying the distance we walked: officially, 121 kilometers, which equals 75.18 miles—12.5 miles per day.
The best feeling is how all of us feel like we are now part of something so much bigger than us. Something historical, a participation in our Catholic heritage, a membership in a college of people who felt and answered the call to make pilgrimage.
So, if the Camino is a metaphor for life, I pray for the same fortitude and Divine help to finish it well, and reach the home God made for us in Heaven. I want to be a better man. It is God’s work, and I pray Him to do it. That this pilgrimage will not recede as a mere “bucket-list” tour. I still feel like a pilgrim. I am a pilgrim.
May Our Lady always be my sure guide. And may St. James pray for me.
I am grateful for my wife, and Ed and Maryrose, for their camaraderie and support. Thank you. And I am grateful to my children, family and friends who provided the essential logistical support, made due without us, or who just plain missed Mom and Dad. Your kindness is so appreciated. I love you all. And finally to those prayer warriors—so many!— who followed along with us as part of that Mystical Body, that Communion of Saints— who buoyed us constantly with their prayers. We felt them. Thank you!
And thank you for reading along the Way.
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