Pilgrim's Progress: Our Lady of Bella Vista
Years ago I heard about the Camino de Santiago and was immediately drawn to the idea of a 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain.
I can pinpoint many of the reasons that I want to do this, I was born in Spain, I love to journey, and I love to learn. But, honestly, I just "for no particular reason" really want to do it.
Initially, I didn't think it was possible. After the accident, it became difficult for me to wear a backpack for any length of time, and for many years I had placed the Camino de Santiago into the "Things I Have Lost" closet.
Then I learned there was a porter system available, complete with bed and breakfast accommodations, and realized that the Camino was something I could feasibly do.
Of course, after pricing the porter system, I realized that the goal would take a few years to achieve.
No matter, I need to work on my Spanish anyway.
While I was thinking about doing the Camino de Santiago, I began thinking about all of the shrines available in the US and I thought, that while I was preparing for the Camino, I could make mini pilgrimages to the shrines around me.
My first one was planned for the day after Easter, I was going to travel to Prague Oklahoma and visit the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague, the icon of the Infant of Prague is a personal favorite of mine and Prague Oklahoma is but a half day's drive away.
Of course, Covid-19 has altered all of my pilgrimage plans.
The other day, I complained to Father Barnabas, my pastor about how awry my plans are (sadly, yes, I fussed about a road trip right now). Father waved out of his office door toward Our Lady of Bella Vista and the (very beautiful) outdoor Stations of the Cross and suggested I begin my pilgrimage here.
I thought that the first lesson I would have to learn from my pilgrimages would be perseverance. Instead, it appears the lesson is patience.
Pilgrim's Prayer Through MaryO Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, we dedicate ourselves to your service.
We concentrate our minds, hearts, and bodies and promise to work always for the glory of God and the salvation of man.
Protect the young and help the aged, save sinners, and console the dying. You are our hope, Mary, Mother of Mercy, and Gate of Heaven.
Pray to your Son for us so that we may be filled with selfless charity and deep faith. Ask Jesus for those things which we cannot obtain through our own actions and help us in this our present necessity.
May we always see the Will of the Father of our lives. We ask you this, sweet Spouse of the Spirit, so that we may come to your Son in grace. Amen