Had a free morning Tuesday, and am all too aware that summer is around the corner, and I need to start building my reserves. Yes, Rojo has a summer "job," and that will help tremendously, however, it does not start until after the 4th of July, and well, it is feasible I may be crazy long before then if measures are not taken to prevent that.
So. Looked outside and it was not rainy or cold (which it will be the rest of the week), and I felt the need for some serious Mary ju-ju, so took myself on over to The Grotto. Timed is just right and got to do the gift shop (bought Mary candles and Mary bracelets, naturally) and the lower grounds before the daily Mass, then did the upper grounds after that. Really nice way to spend a couple of hours, if you ever find yourself in the Portland area.
They say they are a place of solitude, peace and prayer, and I found that to be true. Had I put more thought into this, I would have arranged to go with any number (or all) of my Mary loving friends. Since I decided about 20 minutes before I left that that was the plan, I did it alone, and thus, the solitude. I'm glad the way it worked out, since solitude is something I need more than most, I think, and don't prioritize enough. I need to put "Solitude" on the calendar with barbed wire around the edges, and not piss the days away like I am prone to do.
Here's the Mary candle I bought and left to burn for seven days. There are special intentions illuminated by this candle. Lord, hear our prayer.
One of two banks of holy candles. Sobering to watch people light their candle, bow, kneel, pray and let their prayers be lifted from their heavy hearts.
The shrine in the middle of the two banks of holy candles.
All in all I was gone two hours, and yet when I returned home I felt like I was coming back from vacation: disoriented, relaxed, out-of-touch with the world. Note to self: take more 2-hour vacations.