« PreviousContinue »
JERUSALEM AND MOUNT SINAI.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF MY DEPARTURE.
Abbey of St. Urban, June 23rd, 1831.
I AM setting out at last, my dear friend. I shall start to-morrow, notwithstanding my precarious health, notwithstanding the dangers of which your friendship for me causes you so much apprehension. At three in the morning I shall commence my happy pilgrimage. I must confess that, at my age, scarcely recovered from a serious illness, the plague which is ravaging the countries that I am going to visit, and the troubles prevailing there, would be enough to intimidate me if I were running after the perishable riches of this world. But, of what account are the scorching skies of Asia and Africa, contagious diseases, my infirmities, and the calamities which inundate this vale of tears! Nay, I already feel happy
CHURCH OF ST. URBAN.
in the prospect of the sufferings and perils that await me. I say to myself, my right hand upon my heart and my eyes uplifted to heaven: I am going to visit the holy places that is the object of my journey; I am going to weep over the tomb of Jesus Christ; the paternal hand of my God will lead me to the term to which his love is calling me.
Pray for me; adieu!
CEREMONY IN THE CHURCH OF ST. URBAN - DEPARTURE - ARRIVAL AT LUCERNE.
Lucerne, June 25th, 1831.
Here I am at Lucerne, my dear friend. I shall stay here but three or four days; I shall then embark on its enchanting lake for Altorf; I shall cross the Gothard, and proceed as expeditiously as possible to Venice, and perhaps to Trieste, where I hope to find some vessel bound to Alexandria or the island of Cyprus.
An affecting custom prevails in our Order. When a member of it is leaving the monastery upon a long journey, he goes and falls prostrate upon his face in the church, and the assembled community pray aloud that the blessing of the Lord may attend him. I was to set out very early; I requested the abbot to permit those prayers, which I so ardently desired, to be said after complins: he complied. Never did service appear to me more solemn; never in our sacred hymns had I raised my voice to Heaven with deeper emotion, or sent up with more fervour the expression of my love and my gratitude