Drawing closer to Montserrat we reach a very special place for Ignatius of Loyola and many other pilgrims of his time. The mountain of Montserrat is recognzied by many as a place of great spiritual presence. Called “Magic Mountain” by some, tradition remembers it as a place where the presence of the Spirit is “natural.” Let each of us be carried forward by the flow of this same spiritual force as was Ignatius. Let us present to the Black Madonna our personal offering to follow Jesus, with great freedom of heart for his greater service.
«He continued on his journey to Montserrat, thinking as usual of the great deeds he was going to do for the love of God. As his mind was filled with the adventures of Amadis of Gaul and such books, thoughts about these adventures came to his mind. He determined, therefore, to spend the entire night in a watch of arms, without ever sitting or lying down, but standing a while and then kneeling before the altar of Our Lady of Montserrat. There he would lay aside his fine attire and clothe himself with the armor of Christ. When he arrived at Montserrat, he spent a long time in prayer. With the consent of his confessor, he spent three whole days writing a general confession of his sins. With the permission of his confessor he arranged to give up his horse and to hang up his sword and his dagger in the church, at the altar of Our Lady. This confessor was the first person he told about his resolution to devote himself to the spiritual life. Up to then he had not revealed this purpose to any confessor.
On the eve of the Annunciation of Our Blessed Lady, March 24 in the year 1522, he approached a beggar. He removed his costly clothes and gave them to this man. He then put on the pilgrim’s robe he had previously bought and went to kneel before the altar of Our Lady. Alternating between kneeling and standing, he spent the entire night with his staff in hand.»
Spend a longer period of prayer in the chapel of the Virgin of Montserrat. Pray with the text of 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, begging God to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives, all for the greater glory of God. Here we also change our old clothese and put on those which we “discovered” in Igualada: a new life needs new clothes! What do I leave behind here in Montserrat? What am I going to bring back home?
The basilica of Montserrat was destroyed and rebuilt at various times in its history, following the rhythm of the wars that plagued the region. Each time the church was rebuilt a little further back, closer to the mountain. This reality leads us to the place where Ignatius made his “vigil of weapons,” precisely at the entrance portico by the atrium of the current church. Near the statue of Ignatius you will see a black circle on the ground. This marks the spot where the altar to Our Lady stood at the time of Ignatius. A worn quote written on the floor reminds us that it was here that Ignatius made his offering to the Virgin.