The South of France with Mary Magdalene and the Cathars

As I entered the massive Gothic basilica 
at Saint-Maximin in the southern French countryside near Aix-en-Provence, I felt I had entered another dimension. My pulse quickened, and I understood that I was about to embark on a sacred journey through time and memory to the very center of my being. Dwarfed by the basilica’s soaring, vaulted interior ― illuminated by numerous votive candles and beams of rainbow light filtering through stained glass ― I found my way down a small staircase to a marble sarcophagus containing the relics of Mary Magdalene and a bronze reliquary said to hold her skull.Gazing upon the beautiful sculpture of the saint adorning the sarcophagus, I was instantly overcome with emotion. I began weeping softly and soon fell to my knees, bowing in prayer. Not one to engage in public displays of any sort, I questioned this sudden outpouring. I knew only that my heart had expanded in love, a current of energy that, for a rare moment, connected me with the source of all that is. A fellow traveler from our small group helped me back up to my feet and embraced me. “I didn’t think this kind of l …

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