Monday, June 13, 2011

Inis Mor

Today was the best day so far. The weather was absolutely amazing. We started out by renting bikes and touring the whole island of Aran. The first place we stopped was an old Viking burial mound. Our next stop was a beehive hut. It was originally used for the hermits that were looking for a spiritual escape in which they would find God in solitude. The hermits would also provide shelter for pilgrims in their huts.

Next, we stopped at the seven churches. The seven churches were a monastic community founded by St. Breachan. After the seven churches we rode our bikes to Dun Aengus. Dun Aengus is a pre-Christian fort that on one side is protected by walls and the other by a three hundred foot cliff. We were told to lie on our stomach and crawl to the edge of the cliffs and look out. Earlier, we'd been told to drop a rock off of the cliff in a symbolism of letting go of something that has been troubling us that we just couldn't quite get rid of. It was an amazing sight.

Once we wrote in our journals and ate lunch, we headed back to our Inn to meet Fr. Dara Molly. He took us to the smallest church in Europe and most likely the world, St. Culumba's altar, the ruins of St. Enda's and numerous holy wells. He then took us to a completely secluded site where we celebrated the Eucharist. We said goodbye to Fr. Molly and ate dinner. Afterwards, we went to a traditional celtic dance. The singing was fantastic.

The part that resonated the most with me was dropping the rock off the cliff. When John first told me that we were going to throw a rock off a big ledge, I was naturally excited (seeing as teenage boys like throwing rocks off things), but it turned out to be an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

As I crawled on my belly to the edge holding my rock I started to pray and think of what I really wanted to get off my mind. I looked out then closed my eyes and began to pray. It was weird-- everything turned silent. I'm not sure whether it was actually quiet, or if I was just so focused on talking to God.

I was in the middle of my prayer when I heard John say Amen. I was surprised, because I wasn't expecting such a fast prayer, then I realized that I had been thinking of it the entire bike ride and was ready to let go of the troubles that had been holding on to me.

He said, “OK, let go,” and I just dropped the rock without thinking. As soon as I dropped it, I felt an entire weight lifted off my back. I'd never felt such peace in my life. Being able to throw my worries into God's great ocean made my them seem so miniscule in comparison.

I actually didn't see my rock hit the water, but that was really a good thing. I saw my rock disappear over the ledge and had faith that it would hit the water and be hidden in the sea forever. I had faith that God was going to take care of my worries and problems.

It was an experience I will never forget and always remember when I am stressed from school, tests, and life in general. Amen.

- Quill

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