Thursday, August 02, 2012

Le Mont Saint Michel, France

When a Divine Being appears it sets into motion a following of pilgrims to the site in hopes of blessings - God knows we all need them. In the 8th Century Ste. Michel appeared to Bishop Aubert of Avranges, Fance, asking him to build a small chapel on the Mont 300 miles northwest of Paris on the Atlantic Ocean. I wonder what the command felt like? Did he tingle or was he propelled into ecstasy? Did he doubt he could do it? It was no easy task, but it stands today as a testament to Ste. Michel's love and devotion to God and Bishop Aubert's obedience.  Paste, if you can't access.

The sea rises and falls at the base of the Mont. Unpredictable high tides swept many a pilgrim from the path into a watery grave before the causeway was built in the late 1800's. Years ago my sister and I walked half a mile in the gloom, and damp wind on the last leg of out pilgrimage of thousands of miles by air and hundreds by car. Among the pilgrims were bereted old men, accompanied by old women with head scarves and substantial shoes, mingling with children and grandchildren working their way toward the chapel at the top. Not all would make it, just being inside the fortress counted.
Having walked off our breakfast croissant, the first place we saw to eat was Madame Poullard's.   
Seated by a window, outsiders peered at us zoo-like. A white-coated man rhythmically whipped eggs with a long-handled whisk in a large copper bowl. He didn't just whip them twenty or thirty times, he beat the daylight of them. Veggies, cheeses, and meats or seafood are ala carte. Each omelet filled a platter and stood several inches high. The waiter served it as if it were a pricelsss piece of art. The price confirmed it. A leg of salt-meadow lamb was recommended for the second course. I passed. I was full of omelet air.

We wound through narrow streets and small businesses featuring souvenirs of candles, prayer cards, pictures and whatever would remind pilgrims of Ste.Michel 's love and devotion to God and Bishop Aubert's obedience. The further we walked, the less crowded it was.

Quietly we entered the silent, empty stone Chapel more than 500 feet above the sea. A few vigil candles burned confirming previous visitors. The sun broke through the gloom and slid through the lead-glass windows splashing color around us.

At an old wooden pew I knelt and thanked God and Ste. Miche and Bishop Auberge for listening and obeying. I'd come to listen, too. Maybe it is in the air, but a message unfolded, as if pre-recorded. In my heart I felt "I need to trust God to direct my life, believe, and have faith that Thy will is best."

Atop the chapel stands a gold statue of Ste. Michel with his wings spread, his sword raised, and his left foot stomping on the dragon symbolizing darkness overcome, hope and justice. He's our fierce defender, patron saint of perils at sea and policemen; the friend I take with me everywhere. If I could, I'd have a two-story stained glass window of Ste. Michel. Working as a cable lady, I pulled over to ask a man for directions. He stopped his weed whacking, and pointed to the back of the lot. Then he turned back to me and said, "Don't go there, he's been drinking all day." I thanked him and Ste. Michel.

We stepped out through the portal we came in, wrapped our coats close to shut out the cold wind and headed across the windy, treeless sand with threads of sea strung out, as if waiting to be woven. And then I realized, Ste. Michel and Bishop Auberge were weaing faith and trust into us.

2012 Red Convertible Travel Series

No comments: