Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sensing the Sacred

We've spent many minutes here sampling holy spaces.  Along hiking trails there have been small chapels, belonging to individual families, containing icons and other reminders of the Presence.  We visited and prayed in the shrine in Greece that's a magnet for the faithful--the church of the Virgin Mary in Tinos.  Below, a fragment of a fresco in the portico leading to the church compound.

The church sits at the top of a very long hill and on the side of the road that leads to it there's a narrow strip of carpet.  Pilgrims go to the church on their hands and knees.  You can actually buy knee and hand pads at local shops there.

As the story goes the Virgin appeared to a local woman in 1823 several times, telling her to find the lost icon on the hilltop.  The bishop approved the apparition and work began to find the lost icon of the virgin and child.  Finally it was found, split in two and damaged by fire.  Then the church was built to house the icon and over many years it became the site of pilgrimage.  In the photo below there's the holy icon of the Virgin, covered over with layers of jewels donated by pilgrims.

Have you ever noticed that certain places actually feel holy?  I have no idea why this is.  Perhaps there's a sense there that prayers over the years "live" in that space?  Perhaps it's something new-agey like convergence of meridians or something like that???  (Actually I prefer the first explanation by a mile!).  People have told me that our church feels holy, that they can feel the prayers over the centuries that have shaped the community.  I think there's something to that.

Touch our holy place and add your prayers.  Thanksgivings, petitions, times of rest with God.  All these are very good prayer.

For that matter maybe it's your own space at home where you usually pray that feels holy.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit imbue everything we do and every place we pray with divinity.  Happy Trinity Sunday!

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