Devotion with Bill Mayall
Recently I visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. As I read up on and learned about this holy place before our visit, it was clear to me that regardless of one’s religious affiliation, this visit would afford the opportunity to engage Our Lord and Savior in a meaningful way. People, of all religious faiths, come from all over the world on pilgrimages here. It is reported that in a typical year some four million people visit the site; one million on May 13th and October 13th alone, the dates of the first and last apparitions. There must be something special indeed to draw so many people to this holy place.
Despite the large number of people present, from the moment I set foot on the grounds of that special place there was a palpable sense of peace and serenity. The silence within the sanctuary itself was deafening, as only a special place of worship can be. Anyone who has ever sat quietly and just “listened” in any place of worship can likely relate to that experience.
After viewing the main altar and other stations of the Sanctuary, like many others present, I sat in a pew and simply let my heart guide my thoughts where they needed to go. There was an overwhelming sense of peace and His Presence. In Matthew Chapter 11, we are told…Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I have a better appreciation for those words now. I walked away from the experience refreshed and recommitted to incorporate His Word into my daily actions.
I know that too often I allow the daily “noise” of routine activities to interfere with my need for spiritual nourishment. But there, in that place, I could sense the Spirit telling me to slow down, take a deep breath, and keep my priorities in order. Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. This visit reminded me to do just that. It isn’t necessary, of course, for us to visit a renowned religious Shrine to do that. Wherever we are is always the right time and place to engage our Lord and Savior.