I remember clearly showing this book to my mom, tears in my eyes, telling her that "This. This is what I mean. This is what I want you to understand about me."
The Grotto is special. St. Francis of Assisi presented in statue after statue, green pathways leading to beautiful spaces. This is heart filling.
The Grotto, dug deep into the rock wall is a symbolic womb holding my feelings of despair for the animals of this world. Their faces, their sounds, their helplessness collage against the granite walls. These broken and ruined animals live in my mind and heart. So I place them in a sacred space where I ask someone to see them. To save them. To stop the insanity.
The Grotto took my tears and holds a space of sanctuary where my pleas and passions are honored. A quiet space of solitude where no one can refute the truth and the utter horror that is real.
The Grotto gave me a little book of prayers for the animals. I take that little book and hold it like a palm stone. It gives me comfort and reinforces the importance of learning compassion and empathy. St. Francis of Assisi said "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."
The Grotto is a resting place for my heart and soul, even though it is most often in my imagination.