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Mission San Antonio du Padua
Jolon, California

The Mission is about an hour and a half north of Santa Barbara.  It sits a quarter mile or so from the housing complex of an Army base in the middle of squat, rolling, grass and California Oak-covered hills. 

I was the only person visiting.  No friars, no gardeners, nobody.  I put a couple of dollars into a glass box at the entrance and wandered about.  A door to the chapel was finally found unlocked and I went inside to see, offer my prayers (I always do it in my own way—not like I was raised) and just drift in an atmosphere which allows our deep-resting consciousness to breathe.  It was very dim, quiet, colonial.  The air was peaceful.  And I came upon the alcove in the photo.  There was a window in the alcove letting the sunshine into it, but not the chapel.  Lovely. 

It came to me that those candles were keeping the figure on the cross company.  This is metaphorically true if we look at wishes and prayers, which those candles represent, in that way.  So I stood there with my interior silence expanding and understood this: thoughts we hold of our loved ones are just like those candles—they are company to those we think of, even though the ones we are thinking of don't know it.