…stay there until you leave. 12Jul2015

Too many times we focus on what’s next rather than what is present to us. Mary and I fought these sensations as we drove nearly 2,000 miles through Spain and Portugal over 10 days. There are many holy sites to visit but we could not visit them all; we had to make choices so as not to waste time seeing much while seeing nothing. One such experience occurred while driving along the north coast of Spain. Fr. Tobias, rector of Redemptoris Mater Seminary, had told us about the Monastery of St. Toribio de Liebana,DSC06410tucked away in the mountains up a narrow winding road and about an hour’s drive off the main highway, where the largest pieces of the true cross are kept. We were determined to see it but were disappointed when we entered the monastery church and found that the relics were in a side chapel, behind locked iron gates. The wood of the cross was ensconced in the glass arms of a cross, about two feet tall, with a silver base and trimmed in gold, above the altar in a tabernacle-like structure.DSC06387aAs we walked through the church we heard the gates open and saw people streaming into the chapel. We joined them and sat down in a pew. A priest then came to the pulpit and began speaking in Spanish, apparently telling the story of the relic, and then they prepared for Mass. Mary and I realized we had inserted ourselves into a Spanish tour group but since we were against the wall toward the front there was no way out. At the end of Mass, the priest opened the back of the case, removed the cross and blessed us with it.DSC06396aHe then laid it on a raised platform to the side and invited us all to file forward and venerate it. As we moved closer, I silently thanked God for blessing our simple-minded traveler’s determination with more than we expected and thought how He wants to do that every day… if we just stay with Him.

Deacon Richard



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.