I began my itinerium to Saint James and Fontgombault on Friday, September 24. It began with Holy Mass (according to the Roman Missal of Blessed John XXIII), with Marcel Walter assisting, at 5 :30 AM in the newly restored chapel of the house at Saint Jude’s. Then off to the airport we go. The flight was long, if uneventful. I arrived in Madrid on Saturday about noon. Once installed into my tiny room at the Hostal Don Diego, I ventured out into the beautiful city with the sun shining away. Here are some of the first sights I saw on emerging from the depths of the subterrainium city train.
I decided to eat. I found a little Spanish trattoria called L’Spirale and had a very pleasant lunch at around 4 PM. When I was seated, the waiter right away brought bread and a little plate of julienned raw carrots marinated in olive oil, oregano, and garlic. He also brought some delightful bread, not sliced but baked in a deep dish pan and cut in squares. I had to have a glass of red wine to keep the carrots company.
By the way, you may think that I am alone on my little intinerium. For our book club at Saint Jude’s we are reading the book John Henry Newman, His Inner Life by the capuchin priest, Dr. Zeno. Although I am still in first few chapters, I am constantly being surprised by the remarkable personality of even the young Blessed Newman. In becoming more acquainted with the newly declared blessed, I feel that we are becoming friends not only because of or mutual love of Saint Philip Neri and his charism. I will blog more on this as I journey on my itinerium through Spain and France and the book.
Back to the late lunch. For the first plate, they brought me a delicious panache de verduras. This included peas, carrots (puck-like), potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts fried in a little bit of oil with fresh rosemary. I looked like this.
The second dish was Spaghetti Aglio Olio – I know – and Italian dish. I ordered it because it is one of my favourite dishes I like to make for myself. I wanted to see how they served it. In addition to what I do, they add some cilantro and red pepper flakes. They were very generous with the amount of grated parmesan cheese they left for you to use. It looked like this.
Once restored, id est, moi, it was time to hit the Prado. I decided to wait until 6 PM, when the final two hours of the hours of operation are free. I managed to take in the medieval and renaissance and some of the eighteenth century collection.
By now you may wonder if there is anything spiritual about the itinerium so far. Well, post Prado I made my way to the Basilica Jesús de Medinaceli, a church near the Prado, staffed the by the Franciscans. I attended the Saturday evening Mass. There was a good choir that supplied the music. At communion time, they sang the Ave verum of Mozart quite well. However, the Mass was an example of High Mass in the choir loft and Low Mass at the altar. This happens when the priest refrains from singing any of his parts. It makes what the choir does sound like an “add-on” instead of an integral part of the Mass, which it is. At the end of Mass, the priest donned a cope and preceeded to the Lady chapel where he incensed the altar. Meanwhile, the choir sang the Salve Regina. Once the chant was over, the priest led the collect and retired to the sacristy. I wonder if we should do this custom at Saint Jude’s. There is a true love and devotion to Mary in our parish.
After Mass and prayers, I headed my hotel room. I stopped and had an Ensalada Aurora — a sort of chef’s salad, I think. It went with a Spanish beer called Mahou. This was dinner – at about 10 PM. I got home and began my blogging. I am bushed. Hasta luego.