These past days driving from Leuven to Bilbao I felt again deep in my body-soul that we are part of the whole: The cosmos, the universe… watching the stars the night we spent at Vezelay, medieval burg or town where M .Magdalene’s body rests, or part of it in the form of relics.
That beautiful night was almost magic: the stars, the smell of chimneys in the quiet cold streets, the moon smiling to us, pilgrims of the Ruah, seekers of the Lover, like her, Mary Magdalene, and the moon, always walking in the night with the stars as companions…I felt at home with them, building community with it all, in the deep silence that all of a sudden became pregnant of music, the music of the cosmos, in the night, of the small gardens that at the beginning of Spring offer all kinds of melodies in the form of colors and fragrances.
Narrow beautiful streets… when we got there the sunset was bathing of ochres and dark reds the old town that quietly invited us all into prayer. The bells of the Basilica confirmed what mother nature had announced, the grand silence to open our hearts to the sounds of the night, of the prayer of centuries of pilgrims telling her the most intimate secrets of their hearts for she knows how to listen, to each one in a different manner.
Our heart was aching and joyful all at once. We were driving more than a thousand kms away from our dear sisters up north, leaving behind the most treasured hours of sharing life and vision, hugs and dances, insights and meals converted into Eucharist for we were breaking the breads of our lives.
After many years of a long desert we had found the treasure of a community that empowers us to be the best of ourselves in total trust, communion of vision, total collegiality and solidarity…
We couldn’t help but go to Vezelay to bring our community to the feet of Mary Magdalene, the disciple that understood Jesus and began his movement with her preaching her loving manner of being with all, her determination to change the world as her master and lover wanted.
It was the following morning that we initiated the short pilgrimage to the Basilica where she rests. For me a long pilgrimage of 700ms on a deep upwards street, with two crutches, eyes fixed on each stone that I could talk to since my speed allowed me to. My pilgrimage was one of the heart, each step being an effort and a desire to get there.
Life is not romantic most of the time, neither it was to get to the Basilica, perspiring and tired and realize that there everything was upside down, the exterior and the interior due to maintenance of the buildings. No monastic celestial music, but the voices and noises of the workers…very real, very Mary Magdalene’s like, for she was in touch with the pain and the joy of real life, no especial places for her to be. She was where the Master had been, in touch with life, with the noise and the joy of the people of her time.
And this was our prayer, there, where the light in the Basilica was brighter and where she rests, we could talk with her about it all.
Yes, our sister, you knew of our pilgrimage back home after almost seven months of trying, again a project that has been redirected towards the south. Yes, Mary Magdalene, teach us of your wisdom to listen deeply where the heartbeat of where you want us beats.
Yes, our sister, walk with us the last stretch of our pilgrimage, to find the place and the people with whom we’ll continue being your disciples.
We are part of the whole, we belong to it. The mountains and valleys approaching our country speak to us of adventurers and troubadours. People that love to see the stars and sing and dance in the night with peoples and trees, with the sea and the shore.
It feels home and yet our minds and hearts travel faster than the light from the south of Europe to the north, remembering and loving every stone and every people we have touched.
Now, we don’t know, we continue our pilgrimage, with those that had missed us and we had missed them. They are happy; we too, still our heart traveling from the north and coming back, slowly to the here and now, like Mary Magdalene, trying to recognize in every gardener the face of the lover, knowing that the big stone will be removed for us, like it was for her.
Waiting, listening, loving…quietly feeling the sand of our seashore, and the dust of our walking familiar trails. It seems it is here and now where the lover and the need are.