Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Way.

Over at Dominicana, Brother Dominic Mary Verner, O.P. posted some thoughts today on the experience of making the ancient Christian pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Verner begins by describing "the usual eclectic assortment of pilgrims" that he encountered on the way - devout Catholics were apparently vastly outnumbered by secular 'seekers' of various types - and goes on to consider what the Camino de Santiago may have to offer to postmodern pilgrims:
Knowing that many saints and generations of faithful Christians from every corner of Christendom have hallowed the pilgrim route to the tomb of Saint James, one might well be disappointed by the motley band of atheists, lapsed, and spiritual seekers that tread the path today. But after having met everyone from a nominal Jew fascinated by Galician paganism to Pablo the Nietzschean spiritual atheist, I believe that there is something tragically beautiful happening on the Camino today.

The tragedy of the spiritual yet faithless pilgrim is not unlike the tragedy of a character who has forgotten his story. As if at the very foot of Mount Doom, Frodo Baggins were to suddenly forget everything about this whole Ring business, and be stuck standing still with a sinking feeling that there was something terribly important for him to do that he just couldn’t remember. The faithless pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago is such a character, walking through a beautiful medieval tapestry whose biblical messages he cannot decipher. Without the cosmic narrative of the Christian faith to give a transcendent meaning to his journey, the pilgrim has the tragic burden of either creating a story for himself or just struggling from one story to the next, looking for something that fits.

Within this tragedy is revealed the beauty of the restless soul wounded by sin that cries out in desperation for a second chance and the transcendent hope that a secular post-Christian culture cannot offer. This cry itself is a sign of the presence of the Creator, who has made our hearts to be restless until they rest in Him. . . .
To read the rest, click here. AMDG.

The photo that illustrates this post was found here.


At 10/25/2011 10:34 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Wonderful reflection.


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