Monday, 2 September 2013

Spiritual sanatorium

As I had the place to myself I could get up and prepare myself at leisure. The sun was just rising as I set out- blood red, followed by deep orange before it settles down to its normal colour. I prayed Psalm 94 with great gusto,then said the Angelus and the Hial Holy Queen. I love the early morning. It is a precious time. In the Book of Genesis God walks in the garden in the cool of the evening, I feel that I walk with God in the cool of the morning.
It was to be a short day as I wanted to visit Moissac. I fell into a profound meditation about Purgatory! We preach purgatory as a place of punishment. I feel that this is a mistake. First and formost purgatory is a place of healing and reconciliation. Clearly we cannot enter into God's rest with any aspect of our personality unreconciled with God. The biggest obstacle to that reconciliation is our own rebelliousness. The pilgrimage is a profound place of reconciliation and healing. Maybe that is why they say that you get a plenary indulgence when you get to Santiago!
I was soon heading down to the spot where the Tarn and the Garonne meet. I asked for the gite in the tourist office and found Aileen the owner doing the chores. She served me coffee and said that I could come and go as I wanted to. I ate my cheese and bread and headed out to see the Abbey and the Cloisters. Sadly, many of the figures on the 11th century carvings had been defaced-presumably during the French Revolution (Later in the day I came acroos an old church where Liberte, Fraternite, and Egalite had been carved on both sides of the tower!
By now my -overipe greengages had caught up on me!- I decided to rest for the rest of the day! At supper there was a lovely gesture. When I asked Aillen how much I owed them she said 14euros! You priests give so much to others she said, we want to give you the food as a gift!
I slept well and was up before six. The road was down the Canal entre deux meres and I made excellent progress. Pierre and Isabel (two french pilgrims) were on the road just behind me and I was in Saint Antoine (Dept du Gers) by 2pm

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