Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Out of the Wheat Fields and into the Mountains

Thoughts and Reflections
from Matthew P. Harrison
We're here in Triacastela, and I must say that it's nice to be more than halfway done. We have been hiking for over two weeks now and everyday I'm shown yet another way I can make improvements in my life as a seminarian and really as a Catholic in general. I must admit that I have been constantly wanting to keep pushing, not take breaks, and power through the Camino. Although that is a possible way to hike, every time that we are forced to stay back a day or decide to hang out longer I have witnessed God use us to change the lives of other or has used others to make a big impact on us! 

One of the first instances of this was the need to stay in Leon a second day. I was pretty bummed to hear that Father's bag didn't arrive and we would need to stay longer off the trail, but God made sure to make our experience in Leon far better than anything we would find on the trail. We were able to attend Mass in the Leon gothic cathedral, and then sing for the high Mass there with full organ and some of our favorite songs including singing solemn tone Salve Regina with drones, O Magnum Mysterium on organ and Missa de Angelis Mass parts. It was amazing and a very rare opportunity which we are so thankful for. Our singing of little chants has opened up many people to having great conversations and I hope that they all remember the things they experienced on this trip. 

These conversations are something that I did not expect at all. There have been so many people that we briefly meet at a restaurant or albergue that I typically would never think to try and approach and greet. But the times that we have met a random hiker, we may see them a week later in a different town, and any conversation we had can be built on and may eventually change their life or their view of the church. It's is just so beautiful to watch people slowly take interest and turn toward only thing that matters in their life; God.

This has given me a new perspective on how important it is to make greeting and talking to each person we come across of utmost importance and just have a good human interaction with every person we come across; cashiers, construction worker, doctor, or just a person walking by, which can eventually turn into something great. 

We also began to ascend into the mountains a few days ago and it has been amazing. The climb is very tough but the views and towns are so pretty. It often makes me think I'm in the blue ridge mountains where I hike often and trained for the Camino.

Today has been a very cloudy day so the entire hike of this segment was just walking through clouds, which was pretty cool. We are about out of the mountains now which is unfortunate but with every change in terrain there has been a new chapter of experience for our Camino, so I am so excited to see what God leads us to do in the hearts of others and what he does in ours! 

Here's one last picture of us reaching today's summit and be prepared to hear from us again.

God bless...