And so we are all here, so many faces from the road turning up at the mass, Toby predictably wandering off and finding his own space, but so many faces from the last two weeks actually present, and many more in my heart as we celebrated the Pilgrims Mass in the Cathedral.

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Maybe the weather is designed to make me search deep in myself for the meaning of the moment, because the grey days have continued. I’m in my hotel now, in some luxury, my laundry is being done, and I am physically and emotionally exhausted. The experience of arriving in there cathedral, receiving the Compostela, attending mass: all too much after a pretty tough couple of weeks. You really can’t do joins no trip without rest days, and I had reached the limit, something even the old hands who started at the Pyrenees have found.

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I have done my shopping and had dinner with Paul and Paige, with all the deep and meaningfuls thrown in, but perhaps now is not the time to share the moments. Each step from today is one closer to those I love, and to my home with Paula. The Epistle for today is a challenge and a comfort.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

For a long time I have reflected on these words of Denise Levertov, a poet whose work I know only a little but which often ring true at special moments. This is my prayer for tonight.

To live in the mercy of God
– Denise Levertov

To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
rise, rise
before ribs of shelter
open!

To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
moss bed.

And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.

To float, upheld,
as salt water
would hold you,
once you dared.

To live in the mercy of God.

To feel vibrate the enraptured

waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,
O or Ah
uninterrupted, voice
many-stranded.
To breathe
spray. The smoke of it.
Arcs
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?
Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
flung on resistance.

Tomorrow, my face is west to the setting sun and walking to the end of the world.