Pilgrimage as A Way To Live

In a few days now, a group of parishioners and others will travel to Italy together to see holy sights, which we call a pilgrimage.  I say “we call” because I think of pilgrimage as generally involving more suffering than we ever do on these trips where Bonnie Waite makes sure that every detail is completely nailed down.

For many years, pilgrimage was something I dreamed of or simply did not understand. Then my first opportunity to take a group out of the country came through my work for the Diocese of Arizona back in the late 1990’s. I led a group of young adults down to Belize to build a community center, visit and work in a rain forest, and to live with locals for ten days. We also had one day on the Cayes of Belize before we headed back home.

It was a mission trip, but I was uncomfortable thinking of missions as merely taking Jesus to other people. So I began preparing the group to seek God’s work in a new place, and this is the essence of pilgrimage. It becomes not just a way to excuse travel, but a way of life.

God is at work in the world, this world. Our faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is all about God’s redeeming of the world we live in.  We become part of his body and will as we allow God to use us to redeem and make whole.  We are all called to do that work in various ways according to the gifts given to us.

Next week, we seek God on the trail of Saint Benedict who called us to obedience, stability, and conversion. His way was the life of a monastic, but those vows apply to all of us.

Along the road you never know who you will meet. Every Easter we tell the story of the Road to Emmaus from Luke’s Gospel.  Along the road home, two followers of Jesus are met by the Lord who greets them, asks them questions, and opens the Scriptures for them. When they return his grace with an invitation to the table they discover in his blessing that it is Christ himself.

Pray for us as we travel that we will meet Christ along the way. Pray that your life may be pilgrimage even if your road only leads to church.  Know that Christ will meet you where you are, but he never leaves you there.

You can follow our journeys and see some of my older ones at https://danieloftheway.tumblr.com

In Christ,

-daniel+