Youth Pilgrimage: day 5
day 4 |
Today we passed
through two regions of Spain and into a new country, France.
Needless to say much time was spent on the bus today, but with the
creative minds and characters that we have on the trip, downtime
is neither idle nor boring. The morning started with Mass,
however, in a convent chapel where we had spent the night. Again,
a sermon was given to help prepare the pilgrims to win the most
graces from what they would see.
Before leaving Covadonga, we all made
another visit to Our Lady in the cave and said a group rosary in
front of her asking her to help us not be afraid to fight for Her
and for Our Lord Jesus Christ even though the enemy has advanced
all the way to the borders in the Church and in society.
On the bus, a nice
long nap was in order since our pampered American backs are still
getting used to the European beds. Also, at one of the stops, a
pilgrim was taking a little too long and so the chaplain decided
to play a little joke and have the bus pull around back of the gas
station. Just as we were doing it, the pilgrim came out running
after the bus he thought was leaving, but on realizing that it was
a joke he took it in good stride. The remainder of the trip was a
stunning drive from the region of Asturias along the beautiful
coastline into the Basque region.
In Loyola, we immediately recognized the
typical Jesuit baroque style of the façade of St. Ignatius’ church
there. This church is right next to the house in which Inigo Lopez
Loyola was born and where he converted to become the St Ignatius
whom we currently know. Inigo was a very vain man – a man of court
and one with very high ambitions for this life. It was at the
battle of Pamplona, where he was defending the city, that he
received the wound that would eventually help him to convert.
There, on Pentecost Monday, which fell on May 21 in 1521, a canon
ball pierced the wall and shattered his leg. When the leg was set,
a bone was still making a large lump in the skin. Such an unseemly
blight was a grave issue for this man who would be soon back to
courting the ladies. He requested that this lump be sawed off. The
doctors obliged but it almost killed him. On the Feast of Sts.
Peter and Paul, June 29, he took a definitive turn for the better,
but was confined to his bed for many months to come.
During the convalescence he was given
two books to read, though he begrudgingly took them since he was
used to spending his time reading the romantic books so popular in
those days. These two books would be the actual grace used by God
to turn Inigo into one of the greatest saints of his time. It was
while reading The Golden Legend (Lives of the Saints)
and Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony that thoughts began
to enter his head. "St. Dominic did this, St. Francis did this,
so why can I not?"
I have been fighting for kings who may
be conquered and for ladies whose love I may never have. Why not
fight for a King who is never vanquished and for a Lady whose
love I know I can have?
Having convalesced in such a state, he
immediately made a trip to Our Lady of Montserrat, left his sword
at her feet and decided to become a Carthusian monk. As we well
know, this was not the Divine Plan for St. Ignatius, otherwise we
would not have benefited from those beautiful Spiritual Exercises
which Our Lady gave to him and which were propagated by the
Jesuits. But his life is a great testament to the importance of
doing the will of God no matter how late in life we realize what
At the house of Loyola, we were able to
see the room in which the saint was born and the room in which he
converted to God, as the doorpost says in the Basque language.
Unfortunately there was some sort of group session going on in
this same room. As we knelt to look into it through the window and
to venerate the spot of conversion, the Novus Ordo priest
began to gather his group around the altar and begin Mass. This
was our cue to leave, but not before praying this prayer of St.
Ignatius which betrayed his converted heart:
Teach us, Good Lord, to serve Thee as
Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and
not to head the wounds; to labor and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ
Our Lord. Amen.
We also saw a small-scale replica of
Pamplona and a chasuble that was worn by St. Francis Borgia when
he said Mass at the Loyola house chapel.
on the bus, we played another trivia game and it was clear that
the young people had been paying very close attention the last
sites we had visited because they were all ready for vengeance on
the team that had won. The game also included some humorous
questions that either played on anecdotes from the trip or from
the idiosyncrasies of some of the pilgrims. To the chagrin of the
losers of the first trivia game, the "Gelatos" won yet again,
although "Team Braga" made a valiant effort.
day 4 |