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The Cave in Manresa

St. Ignatius  still seemed a bit unreal to me when we left Montserrat and headed down the mountain to Manresa, where he would live for nearly a year, living as a hermit, having mystical experiences, writing in his notebook, and, in a moment of despair, even contemplated suicide.  God revealed himself to Ignatius in this little town, and even though he planned to stay there just a few days, it would be nearly a year before he left.  His experiences in Manresa were profound and shaped the rest of his life.

There is now a  church built over the cave where Ignatius lived, and the cave is now a chapel.  My fellow pilgrims and I had the blessing of celebrating Mass there, and as rich as that experience was, I wasn’t feeling the real Ignatius.  Then, someone pointed to two small crosses carved into the stone.  Fr. Paul told us that, so the legend goes, Ignatius himself was the carver.  Now, I could imagine Ignatius doing that.  I closed my eyes and in my mind, I saw him holding a stone and making the marks.  Simple signs to keep him going through the dark days he experienced right here, on this spot.

Our time in Manresa was short, and I wished we could have spent the whole day there.  It seemed like a place that called for reflection, for imagining, for discernment.  Like Robert Frost pondered in his poem The Road Not Taken, I doubted if I should ever come back. Somehow though, I think I just might make it to Manresa again, and I can’t wait.

 

By seedthrower1

I'm passionate about helping people realize that God wants to make something new of them and bring about a permanent transformation in their lives: body, mind, and spirit.

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