It was semi-dark and quite chilly. Being unprepared to spend the night in Dallas I was underdressed and seeking warmth. I was naturally attracted to the grotto of candles adjacent to the statue of our Blessed Mother. Out of the wind, the tiny little flames provided enough heat to stop my shivering.
I stood next to all the visible signs of prayer offered up. Words, worries, pleas, and thanksgivings all flickering silently in the dawn light of an ordinary weekday morning. The Blessed Mother stood nearby, welcoming and beckoning weary souls to pause a moment and kneel before her. To lay it all down. Let it all go. My own soul was worn out. Tired enough to sit down with her and beg to never leave her presence.
As soon as the doors were opened for morning Mass, I stepped inside. And then I gasped. Words nor pictures can do justice to the beauty of the cathedral. Finding a pew, I knelt and silently sent up my thanks to God in all his glory for this moment. Alone, with few other parishioners nearby, I spent Mass in near constant prayer. At times I wept. Asked forgiveness for lies I had been telling myself. Asked for mercy for my continual sins. Asked to be granted wisdom and strength. Asked that the Holy Spirit be present in my life. I prayed for myself and my problems until there was nothing left.
And when Mass ended, I breathed deeply, feeling much more at peace than when I arrived.
You can find information about the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe here.