We enter the cathedral through the Southern Door, traditionally used by pilgrims from Portugal.
The noon mass for pilgrims has not yet begun and a woman reads a list of the countries of pilgrims who have received their credentials during the previous 24 hours. We were among those from the “Estados Unidos” (United States) who arrived from Portugal. Pilgrims have come from all over the world.
After the mass, the priests swing the giant incense burner (Botafumeiro), originally used to fumigate the smelly pilgrims. Although there is a place to the north were they used to wash, not all were completely clean. The swinging of the old Botafumeiro is, in recent years, a rare event,and we feel amazed and blessed.
A nun sings, the organ plays, the Botafumeiro swings!
A priest catches the swinging Botafumeiro, the largest one in the world. We are thrilled to have witnessed this ancient tradition.
Below the altar, down some stairs, is a chamber with the casket containing the bones of Santiago, St. James, the Apostle of Jesus. While there, I say a prayer for you, asking that what is needed for you to come into harmony with your inner being will come to pass.
We have done everything in the proper way. We have walked every step from Lisbon to Santiago and we dedicate this to you. St. James sees, Jesus sees, God sees; we are in harmony with the Tao.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 31):
“Weapons are tools of violence;
All decent men detest them.
weapons are the tools of fear;
A decent man will avoid them
Except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered
how can he be content?
His enemies are not his demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn’t wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?
He enters a battle gravely,
With sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral.”
This speaks to my heart because of my experiences in Vietnam where over two million Vietnamese lost their lives. I know nothing about victory but much about suffering and the slaughter of men. I don’t know about entering battle gravely. I was scared shitless. This is not unusual and I think similar internal processes occur among those raped or abused as children. Some people are merely caught in difficult situations for extended periods of time. Physiologically, the brain resets itself in an improper way and, if you wish to be happy, you should take action to reset yourself on a pathway toward inner peace. I provide a model for you. I walk the Inner Path.