Day 25, 2017 - Mansilla de la Mulas to Leon


Doubtful and unsure,

digging can uncover truth;

but not weaken faith.

Day 25, 2017 - Leon Musee de De San Isidoro.jpg

I splurged and stayed at the Hotel Real Colegiata San Isidoro, the same place I stayed at last year when I walked the Camino. I knew the routine of when I could check in, and when I could take a tour of this magnificent, converted monastery, gaze at the Romanic origins of the fortress walls, the Romanic architectural simplicity of the basilica's choir, stroll through the cloisters and once again see the holy grail, said to be housed in the adjacent museum. 

It is said (in the Australian) that in 2011, two medieval Egyptian parchments were discovered that mentioned the chalice of Christ, saying it was taken from Jerusalem to Cairo. From there, records show that an emir in Muslim Spain received it as a reward for helping the Egyptians during a famine. Finally, it arrived in Christendom in the 11th century after being presented to King Fernando as a gift.

Two historians (León University medieval history lecturer Margarita Torres and art historian José Manuel Ortega del Rio) conducted a three-year investigation and claim this agate, gold and onyx cup (made of two goblets formed together, once known as the goblet of the Infanta Dona Urrace), to be the holy grail that Jesus drank from at the last supper.

Regardless of truth, faith requires one first to believe. 


Looking out from the old cloisters, now converted to rooms in the hotel, I imagined the surprise and joy felt by those who uncovered this goblet and who believed Jesus drank from it at the last supper. I thought about how faith can sometimes alter reality and why faith endures, even when there are naysayers.

On this 500 mile pilgrimage, there is opportunity to meet people from all over the world, to share opinion/belief (or non-belief). I began to question why certain people have come into my life.  I wondered about my faith in a belief that they come at the time in the right place to help me be a better person. I considered the impact some have had to alter my reality and if knee-jerk reaction could ever swing back to neutral. My faith in people was being challenged.

There are said to be three "legs" or phases of the Camino. These include physical conditioning (St. Jean to Burgos), emotional reflection (Burgos to Leon) and spiritual awareness (Leon to Santiago). Leon marked the beginning of the third leg and even though I'd already walked 471 kilometers (292 miles), I felt like my Camino had just begun. With a little over 200 more miles to walk, I looked forward to whatever inspired spirituality was in my future. Maybe, just maybe my faith would prevail. Or maybe it would simply morph and a different reality be unsurfaced.