easter has come and gone.on friday jesus died and all was lost. on sunday he rose again and all was hope. he gave his life for this world. this weekend i celebrated his sacrifice in a pilgramage to the west of ireland upon a rocky outcrop called croagh patrick.
i went with an organisation called sli eile which seeks to inspire young people through faith. 20 people gathered from different walks of life, most of us came of strangers but left a few days later as freinds. each night we would have a reflection on god and on the significance of the days progress.
on thursday night we had mass in the 800 year old ballintuber abbey. the choir filled the cloisters with joyous songs of hope. the interconnectivity of humanity was highlighted by 12 individuals feet being washed by the priest.we are all gods children we are all equal we must all be grateful for life and be humble.
on friday we walked 14 miles beginning our journey to the sacred mount.walking through muddy irish bogland is no easy task. we didn't grumble though as we reflected on the journey jesus took on that faithful day.
the group partook in solemn silences mixed with bursts of chatter as we seeked kinship with each other. i felt inspired at every step. being surrounded by the rugged nature of wild co. mayo, and sharing this experience with altruistic human beings only reinforced my belief in the holy spirit and the gifts we have inherited from a higher power. love was all around me as i opened my heart to joy.
each night i lay my head down in the attic of ballintuber abbey and felt an overwelhming sense of calmness, sure of my purpose to finish the climb. yes i may have been sleeping on the floor, yes the room may have been filled with snores but even they sounded like sweet notes from a harp as my hearing them confirmed my aliveness.
on saturday the journey continued, 10 miles to the base of croagh patrick. during it, we reflected on the stations of the crosses, of the agony the son of god must have gone through. it put the blisters upon ones feet, our wet clothes, our cold bodies, our sense of discomfort into perspective. i did not flinch when i talked to god in my head, when i tapped into my walking companions stories i felt real comfort, real warmth. all was well, all was good.
one must not climb the mountain without a reason. i choice mine carefully. i wanted forgiveness to all those i have hurt, one person in particular stood out. i had the sharp stone i collected from the abbey in my pocket in the knowledge that should i complete the ascent i would pick up a smooth orifice upon my return. my wish would be granted upon the summit, and my heart would be renewed, replenished. i hoped with all strength this would be the case.
we began the climb. limbs ached. rain attacked. then halfway up the clouds began despersing. i grew stronger as the path grew steeper.i reached the snowtopped summitt embracing my fellow pilgrims and then it came.i saw clew bay. i saw the world as one big opportunity. all was magnificent,monumental from the littliest hair on a babies head to the smallest grain of sand.
lifes joys and pains were all one.all the universe's energy was divine. with this thought, i asked for the forgiveness i sought, i hung it out into the wind and it sailed away. i was calm again, my demon seized to goad me.
the descent came, the view of bay filled me with wonder. a warm seat upon the bus, the evenings dinner were gratefully received. i did not quite feel myself. i had a fitful sleep.
the next morning on easter sunday i awoke with my mind transfixed by meloncholy and seriousness. why so contemplative? perhaps the intensity of the weekend had got to me; perhaps the emotion of reaching the summit had burned me out.i think in the end the reaffirment of jesus's sacrifice for us, and of the worlds immense energy humbled me. i was that grain of sand, tiny and insignificant.
then i went to mass on the banks of lake carra. i the grain of sand was joined by other grains of sand. we formed a group all united to celebrated the resurrection of christ. WE! we had become a sublime beach of golden sand all shiny and glistening as gods love, and human collectivity filled our hearts with courage for tomorrow.
i left ballintuber reluctantly and i sit now at my laptop eager to give as much as i can to this great gift of life. we are all one. we, nature, heaven and earth. the bad, the good, the meagre and the mighty. we must embrace it all. will you join me?