The blog of the Carmelite Community at Aylesford Priory
Sunday, 28 August 2011
In the pilgrims rucksacks
IN THE PILGRIMS' RUCKSACKS ...
Tucked away at the bottom of the pilgrims' rucksacks, pulled there by gravity, is a small box - which at first looks like a box of tablets or some other medicine (deliberately so as it will turn out).
The label reads "nadie tiene Amor + grande" which roughly translates as "no one has greater love". At the bottom of the box in an official looking typeface is the Spanish phrase for 'no prescription required'. When you open the box, similar to packets of tablets, you first discover a sheet of paper - which appears to have been folded by a black belt expert in origami. Near the top of this detailed sheet of instructions is the Spanish phrase "Lea to do este prospect detenidamente abtes empezar a usar El crucifijo" - 'read this leaflet carefully before using the crucifix'. This last phrase a large clue to what is at the centre of the box, a wearable crucifix with a neck cord The name of this 'medicine' is taken from Jesus' words "no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). I am unsure if there is a full English translation of the 'medical' instructions found in the box ... but they are in small print and give the impression of being quite detailed.
This gift from the Spanish organisers of the World Youth Day to the pilgrims is a wonderful visual reminder that God's love, particularly made manifest through the Passion of his Son on the Cross, is a most powerful medicine. It may not have a precisely definable list of the exact effects on an individual, but it has no long term negative side effect and has been in use since the beginning of time. It is something we should hope to carry with us wherever we go, to be taken regularly and shared freely.
Let's hope that many of the pilgrims will discover the little box in their bag, wear the crucifix with joy, not just this week, but always. And always to let it show through their words and actions.