Paris: Le Sacré-Cœur et la
chapelle de la Médaille Miraculeuse
Last week I was in Paris and I walked all over the place and took photos.
I also made sure to spend time in sacred places for fervent prayers for family
and friends going through big health challenges right now. I understand we
can pray anywhere in the world and we can certainly talk to God within the
silence of our own heart. And we should. But it is also very important to
show respect and devotion to famous holy places, it reinforces our own humility
and patience and a sense of community when we join in and take our place within
a circle of prayers. So I took the metro and walked around a lot. I enjoyed
it because I had not been in Paris in years… The first reason I went there
was to be with family and it turned out to be even much busier and fuller
than I ever expected, it was such a good visit, such a rich connection with
so many good news and good moments…I am very grateful. I will not post here
all the family photos because some moments are best kept in my heart.
been writing this article in my head: "Ma vie est magnifique!" (my life is
terrific) and I keep finding material in the smallest events. I am never bored,
but I do get impatient once in a while, which is so futile, so pointless.
Plus it is basically selfish. But I have learned to redirect my attention
to seeking beauty or goodness or justice around myself, right there, on the
spot. And it often helps me. But I certainly don't rely on my own strength!
I ask for help, constantly. I can share that my two favorite types of prayers
are the Jesus prayer, in English, and the rosary, in French or in English.
I often sing to myself (usually interiorly unless I'm walking in the middle
of the forest!) a couple of verses of a church hymn or of a psalm, I can carry
them with me for weeks until I turn to a new one. I do know I need help, which
is why I visit churches because being close to the tabernacle is a beautiful
setting for help.
I remember that, even before my return to the Catholic faith,
I always loved to enter into a church when I would happen to walk by one.
I always consider them peaceful places, enjoying the quietness and stillness
of them, appreciating the play of light through the stained glass windows…So
on this particular trip to Paris, I spent one night in the Sacre-Coeur and
one afternoon rue du Bac. I had gone to a Lenten retreat in the Basilica of
the Sacred Heart a few years ago, where I had also registered for Adoration.
So on this visit to Paris, I checked in after 8pm, Mass at 10pm, Adoration
11 to midnight, then I went to my small room, which was very quiet, very simple,
it was perfect. Only the people who register for prayer for the night can
be there at night, and you can stay upstairs in the basilica for how long
you wish, and it is quite an amazing experience to be able to pray in this
unique place, hearing the city humming softly outside and with this very large
Resurrected Christ above your head staring at you! It is the best place to
bring all your worries and your requests and put them at the foot of the Cross.
The following morning I asked for masses for a few people and I got to meet
one of the Sister, who spoke wonderful words of encouragement to me! She was
so young (well nowadays a lot of people look very young to me…) but she was
so luminous and so filled with joy. A great encounter.
On another day, I happened
to arrive at the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal when the rosary was starting.
So I stayed and prayed and basked in the serenity of this holy place. I have
already posted numerous photos and comments on facebook, but here on this
blog I can certainly say that every day that goes by, wherever I happened
to be, reinforces this awareness in me that it is all about relationships,
the ones we care for and the ones we nurture again. Love and trust and hope!
Seeking beauty and goodness around us is a good habit, it is an art, a very
formative lifestyle, a very useful one if you ask me! Just as expressing gratitude
to the people around us is such a good thing, for them and for ourselves,
then to be able to verbalize this thankfulness in the silence of our heart
so it can affect our own attitude and actions, and especially to know how
to articulate it in prayers to God and his saints, all those are absolutely
crucial and essential practices! Do not think I have mastered this, oh no,
I'm far from it. It is not because you know something is essential that you
actually manage to live it day in and day out. Everyone's life is a work in
progress unfolding itself till our last breath. Or so I see it. So what I
am doing here is sharing the little bits of wisdom which I have encountered
and I have complete trust that whomever is reading this might be able to put
it in practice in better and more profound ways than myself. Why not? We are
all in this boat together! We are all linked, and whether it is digital networks,
human communities or transcendent communions, we are in this together, we
are carrying each other in more ways than is visible to the eyes…