During my semester abroad last spring, I made a short pilgrimage to the mountain of Montserrat in Cataluña, Spain. On my second day there, I found a small path to the “sacred cove” where the famed statue of the Virgin of Montserrat was found centuries ago. This trail is known as the Path of the Rosary and is lined with statues depicting the Rosary’s mysteries.
After reflecting in the cliffside chapel at the path’s terminus, I began my trek back with the goal of testing myself: how many of the mysteries could I remember from my Catholic school upbringing? Overall, I found myself unable to be drawn in by the ornate figures representing the glorious and miraculous events of Mary’s life. But near the trail’s beginning, one sculpture took my breath away. Almost hidden, it was a bronze sculpture worn green by the passage of weather and time, depicting the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. In contrast to the grandiose works which preceded it, this sculpture was simple and understated: two young women happily embracing. I could connect with that.
As we approach Christmas, it is important to remember amidst our celebration that, at its heart, this is the humblest of all holidays. At times, the poetic quality of the Bible can place distance between the Word and our daily life; in the eloquence of such language we can forget the humanity behind the stories we are reading. At their core, the readings today discuss simple human joy. While we understand the greater significance of these simple moments, we must not forget that these great things began with small events unnoticed by the world at-large. These little things are often the most important. Give thanks.
Carter White, Class of 2017, is an English major in the College.