Pilgrimage to Mont St. Michel

We recently joined other tourists for a weekday visit to one of France's most important historical sites - l 'Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel. This awe-inspiring treasure of architectural, religious and cultural inspiration sits on a tidal island just off the coast of Avranches in La Manche department of the  northwestern area of Normandy. Last year over 3 million ascended the Abbey's heights and climbed the 365 steep steeps to enjoy the summit view, tour the monastery (the Merveille, meaning "marvel or wonder") with grassy cloister, and eat as well as shop in its quaint village at the base of the mount. This is now the most visited tourist destination in Normandy!

Our English-speaking tour guide reveled in the rich history and related intriguing stories of folklore mixing in anecdotal examples of heroism, devotion, sacrifice and even superstitions to us. During the 10th century, a Benedictine Monastery was established on the mount and the monks became revered for their skills in copying the Scriptures. What makes their commitment so incredible is that in this austere setting without heat and dependence only upon natural light, they were able to meticulously copy around 3 Bible manuscripts per year by hand for a total of over 70 throughout the years of their work.
The Abbey's Cathedral Ceiling

We were also afforded many opportunities for personal reflection and even worship within this very special place. I am told that regular if not daily services of the Catholic mass are held on these premises. I can say the Abbey has many alcoves that have great and small arches showcasing the Gothic and Romanesque architecture that defines this place and makes it easy to feel that there is something spiritual within these walls inviting seekers to encounter the Divine Presence.

Several years ago, I visited another one of the world's most important religious sites - the Wailing Wall - in Jerusalem. At that time, I wrote the names of our grandchildren on a small piece of paper and then inserted it into one of the many crevices within the wall and then leaned into it and offered a prayer of intercession for these precious children. At the Mont St. Michel, I did something similar. I sat along with a few worshipers in an alcove just up from the nave of the Abbey and offered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for those same children.

The Abbey's architecture reflects the design of the Cross. It reminds all who enter through the nave of this historic place of worship that Christ died on Calvary's Cross long ago to give seekers redemption and the gift of eternal life. Today, there is a functional altar with seating for at least a hundred at the very place where the two lines of the cross intersect.

In His earthly sojourn, Jesus turned mountainsides, lakesides, and even desert settings into places of worship, reflection and prayer. I am a believer in the fact that all of the created order belongs to the Lord and that He can always be found anytime and anywhere by anyone who sincerely seeks Him. "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


Popular posts from this blog

A Rescue Story!

Sayings That Shape Us!

"You're Excused!"