March 12, 2021
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death (Psalm 22:14-15)
Jagged peaks and deep silence surrounds the sanctuary of Arantzazu in the Basque country of northern Spain. A Franciscan monastery clings to the mountainside, a place of pilgrimage and refuge for 600 years. From there, a narrow trail climbs ever higher into the mountain range.
Walking, I bent low, leaning into the steep incline, pressing my pilgrimage to unseen heights. Aching lungs pleaded for air until I stopped to drink in the rugged beauty. Bent and panting, I sat on a rock and studied tiny blue flowers spouting along the stony path, then looked up hoping the summit was in sight.
But no, there was further to climb, and sitting there I began to think of Jesus carrying his cross.
I thought of him every time I had to stop, breathless, feeling sympathy, and talked to him about how he felt, wondering how he pressed on when he could barely breathe, thinking maybe he just wanted it all over with.
But even as he fell one more time, there was further to go. The summit still lay ahead of him where we will see just how far love will go.
When I reached the summit, I looked back, surveying the mountain range behind me and the high meadow ahead. My lungs finally filling with air, I spoke everything that was in my heart.
“Thank you, my Lord,” I said into the waiting silence. “Thank you for what I know here, now.”
It was enough.
Pr. David L. Miller
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
By your holy cross you have redeemed the world.