Thank you, prayer warriors!!!! The interwebs said that Mass was at 12 or 1pm here in Grandes. At least, that is what my Spanish googling could decipher. And no Mass last night in the village with our albergue. The shopkeeper said only once a month in their home parish now. Quite sad. Anyway, I was figuring I could never do 20km by 1pm and certainly not by noon. And no towns on the way, unlike last Sunday. I sent out messages to some of you asking for prayers that I find a place and how they worked! But that was the last part of the day, so let me back up.
Last night, Europe returned to standard time. So when we woke at 7, it was not pitch black and we were refreshed and ready to start walking by 8am. Last night we were 6: Tash, Vittorio, English Tim, Marco from Italy, Javi from Spain, and I. All but Javi were aiming for Grandas, with Javi planning to continue 5km more to make tomorrow’s stage shorter. We all set off about the same time and walked together and separate, each at their own pace, meeting up occasionally.
It was fantastic! I walked with Tash a bit, then fell behind (as usual!), then caught up, then ran into the guys, took some group photos, and then didn’t see anyone for a while.
At some point early on, I began to pray the Rosary. To be perfectly honest, it has never been a regular habit of mine. Off and on for a few weeks at a time, yes, or one d summer when I had the Rosary on tape at camp and would pray with my glow-in-the-dark Rosary and my walkman, but it never really stuck as prayerful habit. I’ve been praying it daily on this Camino, though, and found myself drawn to it especially during this time of preparation for Marian consecration. And this morning was wonderful in terms of timing! I was trying to really make today a day of prayer and being with Jesus, especially if I wasn’t going to make it to Mass.
And God is so good! The first glorious mystery is the Resurrection, which I happened to pray just as the countryside was turning pink with the new light from the sun. I fell further behind the others during the second mystery, the Ascension, because I was distracted by the fog in the valley slowly rising and evaporating. Such visual representations of the mysteries on which I usually struggle to concentrate. Truly a blessing and a great grace of the day.
We had descended a bit off the highest mountains yesterday, but were still well above other hills and the valleys. We were supposed to come to a point where we could see a dam and a lake, but we never did, because the valley was full of fog. Instead, I walked along the ridge in the warm sun, and then slowly headed down into the fog. It was amazing! First above the clouds, then in them, then next to them, then below. So beautiful! So peaceful! Another grace of the day.
At some point in the mid morning, I came across the boys taking a break. That was when I told Marco and Tim about my rudimentary research that had discovered Mass in Grandas at 12 or 1. I knew they wanted to go, but hadn’t told them earlier because I didn’t want them to worry about making it on time, as I wasn’t even sure of the actual time. I would walk at a safe pace, pray that I made it, and either make it or not. They were grateful for the update and set off again in the hopes of making it, too.
I did, however, end up starting off too fast on the first downhill stretch. Though it was beautiful and peaceful and I loved it, it was painful on my shin. The right one this time, much the same pain I had in the left one a couple of times before. Not quite a shin splint, and I’m praying it isn’t tendonitis, but whatever it is, it’s painful. Sorry for all of your intentions, but I believe that thinking some choice negative words every third step or so might have negated the graces that come from offering everything up. It really, really hurt. Not to put my foot down, but to lift it up again. Standing = fine. Walking = intense pain.
But, waiting for them to build a moving sidewalk was not an option, so I continued. Down the leafy mountainside, across the dam (and finally seeing the lake), and back up the road on the other side. Que bonita! There was a bar to stop at, but I figured I had just enough time to make it to town in time for the Gospel if Mass started at 1pm and I didn’t stop for a coffee.
The Blessed Mother had other ideas, however! Yesterday’s prayer for the consecration was “Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary. Remind me to ask for Mary’s powerful intercession in my times of need.” Perfect! I really needed that prayer and the reflection that preceeded it yesterday, especially after I sprained my ankle. I read the reading earlier in the day and re-read it in the evening, so I entrusted the healing of my ankle to Mary’s intercession and also entrusted her with my desire to attend Mass. Since she wants to draw all to her Son, I figured she would be a good one to ask for help. Also my guardian angel. And I had you, prayer warriors, with me as well.
So, I said that Mary had different ideas than me just arriving in time for the Gospel. Due to leg pain, I added a couple hundred meters to my path in order to stay on the road and off the uneven hillside. Better for my leg, worse for my timing. I was on the outskirts of town when I heard the church bells chime one. I passed a whole crowd of people in a courtyard and worried that Mass was just over, but it turned out they were at a museum. I saw the sign for the albergue, lost the Camino, and walked around what I hoped was the church, arriving at the closed gates at 5 past 1pm.
Good thing those were only the side gates! I saw people in the porch of the church, so kept walking and came to the open gate where an elderly gentleman invited me in to the 1pm Mass. Which hadn’t started yet! I tucked my backpack and trekking poles in a back corner, found a seat, knelt to pray, and even had a moment to just sit and breathe before the priest walked out to begin Mass at about 1:10! Amazing!!!!!! The biggest grace of today.
Tim and Marco were there, too, but across the way as they were earlier than I. Tash and Vittorio went to the albergue and the 5 of us met up there and had a relaxing afternoon of laundry, coffee, talking, and dinner. I had octopus in the Galician style (pulpo Gallego) and it was good, if a bit oily. No dessert because we ate a lot, and an early return to the albergue. It isn’t even 9pm and already some are asleep.
Tomorrow is our last day to walk in Asturias. We cross into Galicia at some point, and that is the region of Santiago. I’m trying not to think of what it all means. Quite possibly, I could be in Santiago by next Saturday – All Saint’s Day! Hard to imagine being 3/4 of the way done, but there are less than 200km of the over 800 I started with. I saw a sign for Lugo that said by highway it is only 80-something, and Lugo marks approximately 100km before Santiago! A bit overwhelming to think about. So I won’t tonight. I’ll think instead of the blessings and graces of the day and go to sleep with a very grateful heart.
Thank you again for your prayers and support!!
Just want you to know how much I enjoy reading your account each day and seeing your gorgeous pictures!! Can’t believe the precise details…makes me feel I’m walking right there next to you. Certainly your guardian angel is keeping watch! Keep up the good work, you’re so close to Santiago. I’m sure many blessings will result from your faithfilled journey.
Love and prayers:)
Amazing journey. You will know your answer . When you can’t stop thinking about, always being drawn to it, and it’s ever present in your mind and heart then you know. God is telling you the answer. The answer isn’t always easy and can be most difficult to face but you will know. You have gone to the ultimate and extreme journey to understand the truth and God will not disappoint.
You have my prayers and admiration. You are a strong and determined woman and you will know. Love always, Lynn
Careful of that femur…….LOL
Femur did great! Hope to see you soon!