As I told you in the past, we can all be pilgrims, it’s just opening our eyes and ears to the things of God.
Some years ago I lived in the city of Mendoza – Argentina. Visit the famous Uco Valley a thousand times and surely pass many more times for the place on which I will tell you today.
Every three years, for my work, I must participate in a congress, this time in the city of Mendoza. As I would have some free days I asked a friend what wineries to visit, and his answer was several wineries but, he mentioned a place (where they make very rich wines as well) that caught my attention, his name was “Cristo Orante”, and that It led to a little research.
The search on the Internet was not easy, until we managed to find some photos and started to marvel at the comments of the visitors, that was exciting.
Then we found a Facebook page of the Monastery and the comments increased our desire to make a pilgrimage to the place. Until, seeing the photos, we found a person who had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with us, so we turned to her for more information.
A key fact that gave us is that on Sundays the monks offer a mass with a monastic rite open to the community, but that we had to communicate with them to see the schedule.
This in principle did not seem like an easy task, but we started the campaign and found two email addresses to which we wrote on a Thursday evening, with a day to go on a trip and not so much hope of getting the schedule.
But the Lord saw our desire to make a pilgrimage to his place and the next morning, hours after starting our trip, we received the mail with the mass schedule.
So we arrived on Sunday with a little less than an hour before the start of the celebration. Here we begin to travel a part of Heaven on earth.
Little by little we began to go through the extremely well-kept parks, we entered the empty church at that moment, we went to know the cells that are available to the public that so wishes since it works as a hostel. In short, we were entering Heaven on earth.
We decided to enter the temple and prepare for the celebration, so we could see how the monks with the utmost respect and dedication prepared the Church for the celebration.
The simple fact of preparing the temple, done with deep respect and love, seeing how the monks understood the exact meaning of the preparation of the Lord’s table, is worth seeing.
Minutes before the start they replicate the bells with an almost unique celestial sound. Then the celebration, which lasted about two hours, and honestly we thought little.
The monks enjoy every part of the Mass in a very special way, they spread the love they have for the Lord in a natural way reaching all those who were there.
We were not more than 20 parishioners who could enjoy both the homily and the consecration. The monastic rite is part in Latin, part with Gregorian chant and part in Spanish, it was incredible and uncountable what was lived there. At the end, the monks stay at the door to greet us, we were talking to one of them who invited us to visit his chapel, since Andrea wanted to go back to spend a day of prayer, I did not lack the desire but the work prevented it.
To reach the chapel, you must ascend approximately two hundred meters along a slightly steep path from the chapel that has the Monastery open to the Community, but it is worth it.
Already the entrance shows a path bordered by rose bushes with the snowy mountain in the background serving as the backdrop for the home of the monks. We entered the chapel, very small since it takes place for 3 or 4 pilgrims and no more than eight monks, almost without ornamentation, only the altar as the only center of everything.
To be in that place brought to mind the Gospel of St. Matthew, in chapter 8 “Lord, I am not worthy …” and then the next question came to my mind. Will we be worthy of gift size?
We do not know the answer but we will continue on the road behind a hope. Believing that there is a place in the world, looking for it, with the certainty that being on the way, the God of life is shaping us, and that is what we want.
- The monastery is in the center of many wineries and places of tourist interest, access to it is not very visible, but you can get there with GPS. They are a few kilometers of dirt road but in good condition.
- The email addresses are as follows: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you are in the city of Mendoza, the travel time is around one hour.
- They have a very nice park to pray, meditate on the words or just sit and enjoy the creation of the Lord.