Tomorrow there will be a rally against the legalisation of assisted suicide outside the Houses of Parliament. I had wanted to go but unfortunately cannot. So instead I thought it would be good to pray hard about this today and walk from Horsham to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in West Grinstead and ask her intercession. It was a hot but beautiful day and I thought I'd share some of my walk as the Sussex countryside is lovely.
My day started with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass in Horsham and I set off at around 11am. West Grinstead is along the Downs Link and I had to make my way down to Southwater (a nearby village) to pick up the route (you can also go via the local private school, Christ's Hospital, but from where I was starting it was a bit out of my way). I left Horsham via the Causeway, past St Mary's church (built in the 13th century) and was very quickly out into open fields and climbing Turner's Hill.
The public footpath can either take you towards Christ's Hospital school or away from the main road and through some woodland and farmland which I personally preferred. The paths were very quiet, the odd dog walker or cyclist here and there but otherwise I had the route to myself. It was really fabulous to just walk and enjoy the countryside and all the wildlife that goes with it (saw a few beehives in the wooded areas and rabbits everywhere). Since it was a personal pilgrimage I made sure to pray every time I didn't need to consult the map (anyone who knows me wil tell you I am not a great at understanding maps). There is something wonderful in getting away from the hustle and bustle and to simply spend time alone with God. Our Lord would often retreat to quiet places, many of the saints have too and I can see why. In the open air and quiet and peaceful surroundings it is easy to get caught up in the splendour of God; to see him in all the things around you and to open up to him more and more.
Just over an hour into my journey I picked up the Downs link.
The path leisurely weaves through the Downs amidst hedgerows and woodland and thankfully had enough shaded area to stop me getting sunburnt. After forty five minutes on this path I came upon an old train carriage, now used as a kind of museum about the old railway line, and the former West Grinstead train station.
The shrine church is about a mile further on and I had to follow the road for the final leg. Before long the spire appeared over the hedgerows and in a jiffy I was there.
Sadly the church itself was shut but I was able to spend some time outside praying at the statue of Our Lady of Consilation and paying a visit to the rosary walk.
Although I don't have a clue how the vote will go tomorrow I have full confidence in Our Lady's intercession and entrust all of this into her maternal care.
Our Lady of Consolation of West Grinstead, pray for us.