February 16, 2004

Puente la Reina

In Puente la Reina you encounter the first of the great bridges on your pilgrimage road. It is a good idea to sit down before you cross it and reflect on what the bridge is and what it signifies.

The first bridge in the world was formed when sunlight was refracted and reflected in the raindrops. The rainbow became the model of all arches and bridges. Also in its deepest sense: all bridges unite two shores, two shores which in its most genuine (basic) sense are none other than Heaven and Earth. Somehow, before the bridge you can see all the symbolism of the pilgrimage you have undertaken: a journey that takes you away from the superfluous to the necessary, from daily life to the unusual, from death to life, from land to sky, from the sensitive to the suprasensitive, from contingency to immortality, from the human state to the suprahuman state. After these thoughts, you take your boots off and hang them on your backpack.

You make the sign of the cross and you begin to cross the bridge with three sensations:
  • This is one of the few places where you can physically feel the footprints of the feet of all the pilgrims from all centuries who have passed through here. Your feet upon thousands of feet join you to a galaxy of restless walkers, searchers for the other shore.
  • Crossing is dangerous. It cannot be begun without being radically changed. Crossing the bridge is a test that each person must inevitably endure. Each person has his bridge as did Lancelot and Don Suero. The bridge has placed you upon a narrow path where you may be in danger.
  • Pontiff means “builder of bridges.” The pontiff is at the same time the builder and the bridge itself, as a mediator between Heaven and Earth. God, according to the letter to the Hebrews, has created Jesus Christ as the only Pontiff. He is the bridge between humans and God. We are not before the Great Builder of bridges, but rather the Bridge himself, thanks to which we can reach the other side. Jesus is the bridge.
When you put your boots back on, you will be on the other side.

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