Tuesday, February 26, 2013
As one can see there can be a lot more going on beyond simply putting one boot ahead of the other day after day. The difficulty is in trying to link up all these different elements so that a picture of one's Camino can be formed. I suppose you could say that these elements are like single frames of a film. They contain information but do not convey any meaning until the film is viewed in its entirety. This can only be done retrospectively, after all the pieces are in hand and laid out. Once the journey is over, and I am back at home, I can slowly reflect on these details. This process enables me to gather the many thoughts that eventually get distilled into the essential truths of our Camino. These are not typically grand or lofty revelations, but are more likely to be simple truths regarding faith and human behavior, that needed to be reaffirmed and recommitted to. This "newness of life" is the joyful change that always comes to me when all is said and done. It is, for me, why the Camino always beckons, and why a pilgrimage never really concludes. It just seems there is always something that needs a bit of touching up, and the Camino helps me do that.
Thomas Merton, Trappist monk and priest, writes in his book, No Man is an Island (a favorite read of mine), about the challenges we face understanding and accepting God's grace. Merton writes eloquently about the power of faith, but also reminds us how daunting that journey can be. This passage struck me as an essential reminder of the fleeting nature of good intentions, and of the need to ask more of ourselves as we seek God's grace for the strength to complete the journey down the pilgrim road and home to God. Merton writes.
....It takes more than an occasional act of faith to have such pure intentions. It takes a whole life of faith, a total consecration to hidden values. It takes sustained moral courage and heroic confidence in the help of divine grace. But above all it takes the humility and spiritual poverty to travel in darkness and uncertainty, where so often we have no light and see no sign at all...
Our journey continues. Peace be with you.