She is my friend
As the late summer sun rose, its rays slowly filtering through the misty haze, Benedicto climbed steadily up the steep, rocky slope in the foothills just outside his village. After walking for an hour or so, the nonagenarian stopped to catch his breath. He looked into the distance to take in the magnificent view before him. While he rubbed at his grey, gristly beard, his mind wandered off to the days when he was a young boy.
He vividly recalled how his grandfather had taken him to a secret Cathar chapel in the caves not far from the village. There he was invited to sit at a large oak table and read from a book placed in front of him. The book was covered in red velvet and on the front it had a small, red heart set on a golden cross with four equal arms. At first glance, it was a simple book, but even now Benedicto remembered word for word a particular passage at the beginning of the book.
Those with ears that hear and eyes that see, I tell you this. When you read these words, know that I am no longer of flesh and blood, and that I have entrusted all that I have learned to the loving hands of my eternal love, Mary Magdalene, Lady of the Tower. It is she to whom I was wed before Them and with Their blessing. It is she with whom I am whole. Together, she and I consecrated our divine bond of love. She is my friend for all eternity.
Hymn of the Cathars ‘Lo Boièr’
Benedicto smiled. With his hand placed on his heart, he felt the love in those words warm his body against the cold, early-morning mountain air. Only now, when his end was near, did he begin to realize the deeper meaning of what he had read all those years ago, in what his fellow villagers called the Book of Love. We are all born into this world as love and our purpose is to live and enjoy life to the full, just as the divine intended.
However, Benedicto felt restless. A question was troubling his mind and would not let him be until he had received an answer. The high-pitched call of an eagle made him look up to see the magnificent bird flying overhead. Their eyes met for a split second. He knew the eagle was beckoning him to continue his journey to the summit and carry out what he had set out to do. At long last, he was going to meet the Lady of the Tower and let himself be led by her beacon of light.
And so, Benedicto proceeded to make the rest of the climb. He was already well over the halfway mark and it would not take him long to get there. As he walked, he concentrated on where he placed his feet. That helped him to clear his mind and enter a meditative state. In this way, he could let the question do its work.
Simple Minds – This Earth That You Walk Upon
Before he knew it, Benedicto reached his destination: a small plateau nestled between some oak trees. There, in the middle, he barely recognized the lone oak that he had become familiar with as a boy and had learned to love so very much. Since then, he had visited the oak and that which it guarded at least three times a year. Due to his deteriorating health however, his last visit had been more than two years ago. It was therefore with a peculiar mixture of joy and sadness, that he walked up to the oak and greeted it.
“Old wise one, I salute you,” he spoke out loud in a gentle voice.
The oak did not speak, but as Benedicto rested both hands and his forehead on its trunk, he could feel a response. He closed his eyes and exchanged energies with the oak for a while. After a while, he opened his eyes, stepped back a few paces and whispered:
“Yes, it is time.”
He then walked thirteen paces from the oak into the tall sun-dried grass. There he carefully moved his foot over the ground until it grazed something hard. He had found what he was looking for: the entrance to the labyrinth of rocks laid out on the ground.
“Coo roo coo.”
Benedicto turned around to see a white dove perched on one of the branches of the lone oak.
“My Lady of the Tower,” he sighed with a joyous smile on his face.
He knew she was there to guide him through the labyrinth, and so, he closed his eyes and started walking. Within moments, he lost all track of time and space. Whispering, he addressed the Lady of the Tower:
“What have I yet to complete in this lifetime?”
It did not surprise him to hear her answer in his mind: ‘There is nothing left for you to do, Benedicto. You have given all that you could give and lived your life to the full. You have raised a family with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.’
Tears of gratitude flowed down Benedicto’s cheeks as he continued walking.
When he arrived at the centre of the labyrinth, he opened his eyes to see the sun shining brighter than ever before. Everything in its path was covered in golden light. For a moment, he thought he recognized the Lady’s face in the sun.
“Look closely and you will see it is not me but yourself whom you see before you,” the Lady spoke out loud in a warm and gentle voice.
Benedicto looked surprised.
“This is how you appear before the world. This is why those who lay eyes on you, see and love you for what you are: a beacon of bright light.”
Again tears rolled down Benedicto’s face and into the corners of his smiling mouth as his heart glowed and expanded with love. Suddenly, a warm breeze tugged gently at his hair. Benedicto knew what it meant.
The next day, Benedicto’s sons found their father’s lifeless body lying in the labyrinth. As they stood hand in hand in a circle around him paying their last respects, they were startled by a flash of golden light across the sky. They stood there in awe when a voice came to them, carried by the wind:
“I am coming home, my Lady.”
Simple Minds – New Gold Dream (Highland Mix)
Benedicto = Spanish name, meaning ‘blessed’
Cathars: From the Greek ‘Katharoi’, meaning ‘the pure ones’
Magdala = The tower, greatness
Magdalene, Magdalena, Madeleine = She who comes from Magdala
Mary Magdalene = A wise and enlightened woman who lived in the 1st Century AD; the embodiment of unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness; and wife to Yeshua ben Joseph (Jesus).
White dove = One of the symbols of Mary Magdalene
‘Montserrat’ by Josep Monter on Pixabay.com
‘Stained Glass Window’ by Rottonara on Pixabay.com
‘Tree’ by Josep Monter on Pixabay.com
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