It hardly seems possible that I am writing about day seven, but it is true. It seems a long time since we arrived in Bilbao at the beginning of this pilgrimage. We have come a long way, in every sense. But we are not yet at our journey’s end and so the pilgrimage continues as we travel the Way today.
Yesterday we saw a building in Leon designed by the architect Antonio Gaudi. This morning we will visit another of his three buildings in northern Spain as we go to the Gaudi designed Pilgrim museum and cathedral in the small town of Astorga. After going there we then have the possibility of a walk from the deserted spot of Foncebadon up to Cruz de Hierro (Iron Cross) the Way’s highest point.
I am very much looking forward to that. The Bible is full of mountain top encounters with God, from Sinai, to the Mount of the Transfiguration and the Mount of the Ascension. It is on those high places that God has so often made himself known, as with the prophet Elijah. But for him it wasn’t in the spectacular – the earthquake, the fire, the wind – that God was made known, but in the still small voice, the sound of sheer silence. I hope that we get something of that today.
From there we continue with the walk to Acebo (about 8 km) and break for lunch. We continue to the mountain pass of O Cebreiro where we see a mountain village with celtic-like round huts and the 9th century Sanctuary of Santa Maria de O Cebreiro and celebrate the Eucharist.
Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi and so at that Eucharist we will be giving thanks that God always feeds his pilgrim people with the bread and the wine of his presence, real food for a real journey, food that meets the needs of both soul and body. I love the antiphon written by St Thomas Aquinas for this feast, something I persoanlly use every day after I have made my communion. It places the Eucharist in the context of past, present and future, the timeless sacrament.
At this sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of his passion is renewed, our lives are filled with grace, and the promise of future glory is given to us.
After the Eucharist we will continue to Sarria for an overnight stay.
The other group from the Cathedral have their longest day walking today. We ask God’s blessing on them and upon us, and, of course, on every pilgrim travelling the Camino today, that God will feed, strengthen and sustain us.
May the Father,
who fed his children with bread and honey in the wilderness,
strengthen us in our pilgrimage to the Promised Land.