MARCH 14, 2023: “My Consumption At The Abbey” …

And every day he passed a monastery’s high cathedral walls, and it made his life seem meaningless and small. And he wondered how it would be to live in such a place – to be warm, well fed and at peace, to shut the world away.
{“We Fall Down” … Bob Carlisle}

The Fossanova Abbey is a thirteenth century Cistercian monastery perched high upon a secluded hill about 60 miles south of Rome. Made almost entirely of travertine, the baron walls of the basilica, devoid of any decoration or artwork, is considered to be one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Italy, if not the world. It wasn’t even supposed to be a part of our tour, by the way, and the opportunity to visit availed itself somewhat out of the blue after leaving Pompei.

As Gia and I wandered down each more frugal, if not severe corridor, all we could do was inhale our speechless awe. But it wasn’t until we reached the altar nave that I truly had a moment, when the rose window perched high above a trinity of smaller windows reduced me to tears. It was Him! He was there! I could feel Him gazing down at me with as much pure love and joy as I felt gazing up at Him:

I wept as I saw you aching, broke as I watched you falling, and suffered as I watched you struggling to get back up and find your way to Me through through the fog. You couldn’t always see me, but I never left your side, and now that you finally understand that you DON’T have to understand “everything and all of it“, you’re standing at My high cathedral walls where nothing about your journey has been meaningless or small. I love you, Child. You are warm, well fed, and at peace Here.
{“Falling Down In The Fog“}

At first, I was overcome with what almost felt like grief when it was time to leave. The profound peace I’d felt in His all-encompassing presence there was numbing, if not addictive. For a split second, I’d even thought to myself, “Maybe I could just come back here and live”? So, I began searching for the words to describe to myself what had just happened to me beneath those windows. No, I take that back … what happened within me. That’s when I was pulled back to a song I’ve been listening to for more than two decades. It is, perhaps, one of the best ways I’ve found to even remotely describe the physical manifestation of my heart being compressed as every atom in my body is consumed with the tingling, burning sensation I’ve known for years now when He’s present. It’s a feeling I wish I could just “poof” to all of you:

Lovely traces … I can sense Him in everything. The way that He moves me takes me far away … I seek no escape! I am dreaming through His eyes. I am wandering through His mind. I’m overtaken by the way that He delivers me … I’m transcended. There’s no place I’d rather be than here in Heaven. Without Him I’m incomplete … it’s hopeless! Wholly devoted … I immerse myself in Him. Baptize me in His love, ’cause drowning in the thought of Him haunts my soul. I’m taken by the things He does. It doesn’t matter what I lose … I’m His. Under His command, like a puppet on a string. I am willing to put my faith in Him, so, before the world I sing: He consumes me. He consumes me. Like a burning flame running through my veins. He consumes me. Moves right through me. Any time, any place … He invades my space. He consumes me.
{Words to “You Consume Me” Adapted}

When we got on the bus and were heading back to Rome, I just closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, fully comforted in knowing that not only will I never forget that sacred place, but more so than anything, I was taking those high cathedral walls and the feeling I had there with me. You see, nothing about either my journey through the abbey or this life itself has been meaningless or small. He loves me, consumes me, and dwells WITHIN me. I am warm, well fed, and at peace wherever I roam. Oh, and I truly am His favorite daughter.