February 16, 2004

Carrión de los Condes

The concentration of images of the lands you are crossing demands an effort on your part to assimilate the meanings. It is no longer about seeing things to satisfy your curiosity; at this point you must be able to understand what the wise catechumenal teaching the Camino suggests. Carrion offers you a unique opportunity. When you arrive take advantage of the afternoon to admire the Christ in Majesty in the Church of Santiago and to go on a spiritual pilgrimage through the cloister of the Monastery of San Zoilo. Once again at the refuge in the parish Church of Santa Maria, prepare yourself for an exercise of prayer to talk with the Pilgrim that is accompanying you on the Camino.

The church of Santa Maria contains all the artistic styles which you have encountered on the Route: Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque. But beyond stirring up an aesthetic pleasure, this heritage attempts to express different ways of talking with God Himself, he who revealed Himself to the men as Jesus of Nazareth, son of the glorious Virgin Mary, teacher and friend of the Apostle Santiago.

At night, when the church is empty, enter and go toward the retablos where Christ is crucified. Sit at the benches below his feet and look up at a 45 degree angle. The Romanesque structure can be seen perfectly from here. The architect who designed it tried to reflect, in its simple perfection, man himself who must be the temple in which the Holy Spirit lives, a construction crowned by Christ, the cornerstone. As you look at this architectonic structure, meditate on Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians:

“You are no longer foreigners or strangers but citizens with God’s people. You are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, and the cornerstone is Christ Jesus upon whom the entire building, anchored well, is being built to form a sacred temple to the Lord. In union with him you too are becoming part of the construction until you become, by way of the Spirit, the house of God.”

Next, observe the Virgin Mary in front of Christ on the cross. Go toward her, looking at her eyes and say the prayer with which she has been invoked since ancient times: the Hail Mary.

Finally, from there, turn toward Christ on the cross. See how the Virgin looks at him, smiling in spite of his terrible contortions. Jesus looks at His Mother, His Mother looks at Jesus, and, you, as another loved disciple, are present at the magnificent hour of the Lord, the hour of his redeeming death as a road of his Paschal triumph.

Remember the words of John the Evangelist:

“Jesus, upon seeing his mother and next to her, the disciple he so loved, said to his mother, ‘Woman, he is your son.’ Then, he said to the disciple, ‘She is your mother.’ And from that moment, the disciple received her as his own.”

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