“Keep yourself a stranger and pilgrim upon this earth, to whom the affairs of this world are of no concern. Keep your heart free and lifted up to God, for here you have no abiding city”.
Thomas a Kempis
This week, Laura and I depart for Spain where we are planning to walk the Camino de Santiago. Now, we will not be walking the whole thing, but we will be walking from Ponferrada to Compostela. It will be for us, a pilgrimage.
People have been walking the Camino for years, no wait, centuries. It seems to be a very well marked path, yet not so marked that you do not get to experience the journey. I have several friends who have done it and the stories with which they return are truly divine. Laura and I are very much looking forward to the time away together, and are especially excited about this opportunity to literally pilgrimage together.
Another of the aspects of the pilgrimage which we are excited about is getting to journey day-by-day on behalf of the people who have helped us get to this place in our lives; for those who are not walking the path at this time. There are a few things we have picked up on which we have to do when we arrive to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela for Mass on Sunday that we are very much excited about. Praying for these people and others is just the beginning. In fact, we find it very exciting to think that we will get to spend Easter Sunday at the Cathedral . As you can wiki-read, the crypt, below the main altar, shows the substructure of the 9th century church. This was the final destination of the pilgrims. The crypt houses the relics of Saint James and two of his disciples : Saint Theodorus and Saint Athanasius. The silver reliquary (by José Losada, 1886) was put in the crypt at the end of the 19th century, after authentification of the relics by Pope Leo XIII in 1884.
So..this serves as my heads up. After Tuesday, I will most expect to be away, unless a refugio along the way provides a space to update you. However, please keep Laura and I in your thoughts and prayers as we journey. We are excited for lost of reasons, but mostly, as Tony Jones said in his book The Sacred Way, its because “pilgrimage isn’t aimless wandering. Pilgrimage has a purpose and a goal. Pilgrimage has a destination.”
Jones goes on to point out, “Book V of the Codex Calixtinus, the medieval guide for pilgrims to Santiago, gives this advice to those who meet pilgrims along the way- advice we can all heed: Pilgrims whether poor or rich, who return from or proceed to Santiago, must be received charitably and respectfully by all. For he who welcomes them and provides them diligently with lodging will have as his guest not merely the Blessed James, but the Lord himself, who in his gospels said: “He who welcomes you, welcomes me.” Many are those who in the past brought upon themselves the wrath of God because they refused to receive the pilgrims of Saint James, or the indigent.”
be kind to all the pilgrims you meet, for they are on their way…
Here is an article about a very famous German comedian who recently did the Camino. His book of reflections on the journey have been a top the bestseller list for quite some time now.