The tents are packed up; the rented chairs have been stacked and taken away. The land is empty and yet not quiet. Mulch covers large patches where grass will need to be planted. Bricklayers come each morning and work on finishing the main walkway. You can usually see the builder around finishing this or that detail.
Yet despite the parts of the project that are still underway, the Shrine is fully here – it is a reality. The Dedication Mass is over, our Bishop has anointed the new altar with holy oils and the Blessed Sacrament is at home in the new tabernacle. The Diocese of Austin now has a Marian Shrine, for the first time in history.
Come and see for yourself.
I could keep writing about the experience (you know I probably will!), but if you really want to know, as Christ said, “Come, and you will see.” (John 1:39)
Inner transformation comes about most fully through personal contact. You may read and reflect on my words, and my hope is that they will be a blessing to you – but nothing can compare with being there yourself. The Shrine is open. Come and you will see.
Our modern world is moving fast and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. It is up to us to carve out a human, relational, warm, solid and fruitful way of life in the midst of these new times. Do you not need a refuge? Do you not need solitude? The Shrine is open. Come and you will see.
And yet, the Shrine is not only a refuge. Yes, it is a place to find rest, a place where it is a safe to offer up your interior life to God. But only in the sense that CS Lewis called Aslan “safe” – his allegorical Lion-Christ was called safe, but not tame. The Shrine is a home, but the Spirit is not domesticated. If you want to stay the same, if you think safe means being insulated from the change that is life, then it is not safe at all. The Shrine is a place of change and growth, which always means risk (and therefore possible pain). But I can tell you this – if you take the risk and choose to offer your interior life to Christ and allow Mary to educate you, if you suffer through the real sacrifice of expanding your heart and being carried beyond yourself, you’ll find that there is really no risk at all – because to live any other way is not worth it. And with His Grace, it is all so incredibly possible. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The Shrine is open. Come and you will see.
And yes the land is empty of hub-bub of the great celebration that was Dedication Day (see link). But the Shrine is not empty. Many people wander in – youth, children and their parents, elderly couples. Wandering pilgrims. And while you will find sweet solitude therein, I hope that you will not feel alone. Because part of the Shrine, part of Mary’s way of educating us, is through community. Through being bonded to other people as we are bound to God. The world will not be renewed by solitary giants, but by the rebirth of real community. And you are invited to become a part of that community and to take back the richness of the Shrine to your own communities. The Shrine is open. Come and you will see.
The Shrine is open. From 9am to 8pm everyday. Everyone and anyone is welcome – YOU are welcome, to come and pray, to come to this place of grace in order to be experience God, to experience community, to experience being transformed into a new person, the person whom God has called each of you to become.
Mary is waiting with open arms. The Shrine is open. Come and you will see.
Bethlehem Cradle of Sanctity Shrine
9am to 8pm, Everyday
225 Addie Roy Rd
Austin TX 78746
Mass every Sunday at 11am. Daily mass on Wednesdays at 7am.