Wednesday, 13 January 2010
A life of Pilgrimage
I have just been reading a blog by Rebekah Scott.www.moratinoslife.blogspot.com/ Do please read her most recent posting 13 January 2010 titled 'We cannot go on like this'.She has sent me in deep thought about the nature of pilgrim and hospitality. I will assume that you have skipped off to read the most important post. In yesterdays Sunday Telegraph there was a piece in the travel section that looked at what Spain had to offer. In this could be found a paragraph or so about the Camino Budget-Stretchers:- Walking or cycling along the pilgrimage route across northern Spain, the Camino do Santiago, is an experience on many levels,and a cheap holiday,too.... ......Stay at Pilgrim's hostels along the way for next to nothing, with maybe a bit of luxury at one of the historic Paradors along the route. The whole thing takes about three weeks, but can be split into manageable sections........(That is if you take the bus from time to time. This is my addition. IH.) The words that stick in the throat are 'cheap holiday'Cheap for whom.? As Rebekah tells us someone has to pay for it, somewhere. I think that a little thought is needed on hospitality. Even the word has pilgrim echos , hospitality... that which I get at a hospital....the place of welcome whilst on pilgrimage. For those who are after a cheap skate holiday. The real idea of pilgrimage hardly matters. For pilgrims, it is a journey with a purpose. The Camino purpose is spiritual and Christian. It is about the development of our response to God.To look beyond the material, whilst looking through ourselves and seeing our need of healing to the Divine source of our being. However the issue cannot be left at this point. There are many who set off on a cheap walking holiday along the Camino who become pilgrims. This happens because they experience more than they had bargained for. It happens, in part, because the love of our Lord is expressed through the acts of kindness that are experienced along the way. So to the point of the dilemma. By charging a full commercial rate we deny the very values that we are trying to promote. Pilgrimage at it's best must say ' there is a better way to live, than the one that you have been on so far'. The better way to live is by giving and receiving hospitality,refusing to be pulled in by the material dialectic that is the base of the modern western world, to live in the light of eternity, and to stop fooling yourself and others about who and what you are. Where does that leave us? Firstly there will always be those who are out for a cheap thrill and someone else's expense. Human nature will not go away. But there will be those who find the truth of Pilgrimage. And there will be those who know what they are about and take the pilgrimage in a proper spirit from day one. Secondly; For those who have enjoyed a true pilgrimage, there are consequences.We have freely received, so we must freely give. It is up to us to show support for those on the front line that we have got the point of what Rebekah and other have done for us by joining them and supporting their efforts properly. This burden should not be for them alone. If you are a true pilgrim then show it.