Sorry. I have been back over a week. I’ve been meaning to post an update. I am finally, a week after getting back, back on Central Standard time. When I first got back I was waking up at 2 AM.
Our last full day in Madrid was spent going to Montserrat. The Basilica of the Virgin of Monserrat stands some 4000 feet above sea level. It is a breath taking view. In the Basilica we got to touch and pray in front of the Black Madonna. It is believed to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church. The legend is that the monks, when they built their monastery, could not move the statue so they had to build around it instead. It is here that St. Ignatius of Loyola laid down his knightly armor before the image of our Blessed Mother. It was his way of giving up his old dreams, desires, and way of life and turning his life over completely to God. St. Ignatius would go on to found the Society of Jesus, or more commonly known as the Jesuits. They had adoration in a chapel behind the altar. Such a grace filled place to pray. We had Mass in the crypt at about noon.
We took a bus ride back to Barcelona and went to the Basilica of the Holy Family. OH MY GOSH!! It is not yet finished, but when it is, it will be the tallest church in the world. We were very blessed to be able to have our Sunday vigil Mass in the crypt. There were windows at the top of the crypt to the church up above. People would pear in and stare or take pictures. I felt like a fish in a fish bowl. But aside from that, Mass was again a great gift. Bishop Harrington and Bishop Quinn were with us the whole week. Look this church up on the internet. You will be impressed by the sheer size and height of this church. They are planning to expand the front entrance. They are not planning on it being finished for another 20-30 years. And that brings up an interesting point. A lot of the churches we saw on our pilgrimage took hundreds of years to build. Here in the US, we think about tearing something down after 30 or 40 years and starting over. I’m not saying one is right or wrong, but there is something awesome about realizing that people have been in that church for hundreds of years before you, praying and seeking God, just as you are doing. There is something humbling about that. And yet at the same time, it empowers you and inspires you to realize you are part of something much bigger than yourself; something that expands not just space, but time. We truly are heirs to a faith that came down to us from the faithful ones before us, many of whom have long been forgotten. We are truly blessed to be part of the Catholic (Universal) Church.