Received a nice long email from Alison this morning (http://senoritainvierno.blogspot.com/). She is crying a lot in the churches she visits as she passes along the Camino and can’t put her finger on any concrete reason for the tears. They just erupt and she realizes they are somehow important.
She found two churches in one town – one well-cared-for and immaculate (she had to pay to enter it) and one dilapidated old cathedral pretty much on its last legs (this one was free to enter). She cried like crazy in the dilapidated one.
Not everyone can afford the entrance fee to the immaculate church, so a few visit the dilapidated church – and where did Alison sense God’s presence most profoundly? There, while utterly "alone," in the crumbling sanctuary!
God is always available to those who are alone and quiet. You can’t “wall” God inside a beautiful cathedral, no matter how splendid, and expect Him to stay there. He’s going to be found in a quiet spot ... where there can be no doubt that you have experienced Him.
Alison experienced Him in the church where she sat alone and cried -- and again later in another church with images from the life of Christ on the wall.
Alison’s reaction inside these so-called lesser churches is telling. She was overcome to a point of crying non-stop for 20 minutes in both places, and couldn’t figure out why. She sensed in both something she calls “tangible sorrow.” Palpable, universe-wide, unmitigated sadness.
I think she was sensing all of creation groaning for its long-desired return to the "very good" status that God designed creation to be. But we have to sit still, and be quiet, and sense His presence, in order to sense the sorrow of a universe that witnesses so many of us being "too busy" -- too "otherwise occupied" with the idols of work, family, fame, status, celebrity -- to commune with God, whose desire is to bless us, to console us and to promise each of us, individually, that all is not lost. All will be well for those who seek His face and find Him waiting with open arms to embrace them. The return to "very good" is not far off. God has promised.
It’s apparent that the Camino has a way of communicating this to sensitive pilgrims who travel it. God is there.
And He's here...
“Seek and you will find.”
“Ask you and will receive.”
“Knock and the door will be opened to you.”
These are three promises from God.
And God doesn't know how to lie.