One week ago today I was setting up a store inside a small house at the base of the hill that led to Living Waters Retreat Center and then farther up to St. Margaret Catholic Church. After 5 hours of unloading books and putting together clothing racks and hanging chasubles and albs and displaying chalices and mass kits and pictures and crucifixes, I was exhausted but my "store" looked wonderful. The next morning I woke early enough to go back to the store and fine tune a few things and then hike up to Mass. As I huffed and puffed up the hill to church, I had to stop half way to catch my breathe. The hill was steeper than I expected and the need to stop and look out at the incredible view of the surrounding mountains was quite the reward. The leaves were turning and the mountains were developing their patch-work quilt covering. The crisp morning air actually made my throat hurt as I gasped. "I'm fat and out of shape" I thought with each possible last deep breathe. No breakfast had left me light-headed but after a few moments I continued, finding my way to the top, to the church, to the view from above. I fully expected to see a church filled with priests and it wasn't until after Mass when I stopped by the office for a schedule that I realized their Mass was at 10:00. But, what a wonderful Communion Service with the deacon presiding. There were 4 men, the deacon with an altar boy and two in the pews, with us seven women. Eleven people. Was this normal?
I had no idea but what was unusual, or amazing, were the words from my morning prayer in the Magificat that met me in that pew in that church in those mountains of Maggie Valley, NC.
"Jesus instructed the disciples to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick - no food, no sack, no money in their belts. We are a pilgrim people, journeying through the varied landscapes of life, on our way to the heavenly Jerusalem. Let us travel light, unburdened by useless baggage - material or spiritual - and sing this pilgrim psalm to the God who has given us such a glorious goal in life."
And in the personal intentions, "...let us rejoice in the springs of living water which refresh us on our way."
All I could do for three days was just sit and drink it all in. God is good.