Friday, August 21, 2009

On pilgrimage...

Or vacation?
Did I tell you I stopped reading Weakland's memoirs, A Pilgrim In A Pilgrim Church? I lost interest, I'll probably finish it some other time. The idea of pilgrimage and monastic observance - two things Weakland ought to know about - frequently captures my imagination and attracts me spiritually. In our day the austere realities of both seem to be nearly lost from the Western consciousness. Recently I came across an interesting treatment of the ancient practice of pilgrimage and what it entails - it isn't a vacation. Read on:
"A pilgrimage is not simply a matter of getting to a particular shrine or holy place. It is a deliberate sundering and surrender of one's habitual conditions of comfort, routine, safety and convenience. Unlike the tourist, whose aim is to see things and travel around in conditions which are as comfortable, secure, familiar, convenient and unchallenging as possible, the pilgrim breaks with his material servitude, puts his trust in God and sets out on a quest which is inward as much as it is outward, and which is, in varying degrees, into the unknown. In this sense he becomes the image of the spiritual seeker. He removes himself as far as possible from the artificiality within which he is enclosed by his life in society. Of this spiritual exploration, inward and outward, walking is an essential part. His feet tire, his body aches, sweat drips from his head and trickles into his eyes and down his neck. He tastes rigour and hardship. But through all of this, through prayer, dedication, and confidence - slowly an inner change is wrought, a new rhythm grows, a deeper harmony. The pilgrimage is at work.
The way of the pilgrim is a process which must not be hurried. The bonds of routine, dependence on material comforts, on the familiar and the settled, have a far stronger hold on one than one is aware of. The conditions of modern life have so blunted the senses that it may take days or weeks even, until they begin to respond truly to the beauty about them. If the aspiring pilgrim attempts to speed this process up, or refuses to face the conditions, including the hardships, which are essential for the development of the pilgrimage, then he becomes a mere tourist. - Philip Sherrard; Athos: The Holy Mountain
I think it is extremely difficult for moderns to escape the world's web (www) - not only for the sake of pilgrimage, but enclosed monastic life as well. Solitude and spiritual life is inevitably compromised.


  1. The book seems to be pretty popular, as far as "religion" books go. Who do you suppose buys it? I can hazard a guess! Sales Rank: #4,135 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

    Popular in these categories: (What's this?)
    #1 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Catholic
    #1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Letters & Correspondence
    #5 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism

  2. Fantastic boook, I read it in one week. What courage, what conviction Archbishop Weakland has. We need more of him in the church.

  3. Yup, more of homosexuals who swiped a half million dollars from the Catholics of Milwaukee to keep his boyfriend quiet.

    Homosexual priests have already cost American Catholics over two billion (that's with a "b") dollars caused by their abuse of teenage boys.

    And you want more of that?

  4. Anonymous1:18 PM

    Love thy neighbor AS you love yourself. Guess you don't love yourself.


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