This morning we farewelled inner-city Zaragoza and walked along a busy highway into the countryside. After 5 km we arrived at La Cartuja, an interesting walled village that at one time was a 17th monastery dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Today the galleries of the cloister are streets and the cells of the Carthusians have become dwellings. We continued through a rather arid landscape en route to Fuentes de Ebro, another small town.
Today was my first day of walking since Stage 8: Logroño – Alcanadre when I did some serious damage to my shins and needed to rest for six stages. I was quite anxious that I would not make the distance, but I did and my legs have held up. My feet ache, but my shins are fine.
Our prayer today: The “Weeks” of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius can be divided into three ways — the purgative, illuminative, and unitive. Ignatius uses “weeks” as a metaphor to denote seasons of soul:
- First Week — the Purgative Way
- Second Week — the Illuminative Way
- Third and Fourth Weeks — the Unitive Way.
Currently on the pilgrimage we are in the “illuminative” phase. We are walking with Jesus, in order that our lives may be illuminated by his. We are asking to see more Him more clearly, love Him more deeply and follow Him more closely. Another way of saying this is that we are asking for the grace to deepen our interior knowledge of Jesus. The illuminative phase means putting on the mind and heart of Christ by:
- contemplating Christ in the different events of the Gospel and learning from him
- being illuminated by his way of thinking, his way of doing things.
He is the Word from the Father and we are asking to be taught and illuminated by the Word made Flesh.
Gospel passage. Today we are reflecting on the Beatitudes. I imagine myself sitting among the people who had gathered on a hillside listening to Jesus as he laid out his path, his “Way.” Then as now, his way is highly counterintuitive; he is inviting us to be and to live for values that are exactly the opposite of what contemporary culture and advertising tell us to do. In his time, Jesus was in contradiction to His world.
Matthew 5: 3-12
3 Blessed are are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.