Friday, 12 March 2010
The title implies that I have done all this before and in some ways that is true. The difference this time is marked by the picture above. That is one part of the pilgrimage to Santiago that I have never been on before, going though the door of St James. As I am sure you will know, it is only opened for Holy Years and this year is one. There were other differences. The route was up the Via de la Plata from Ourense. I found it rather hard. That was because of many things, not least, that I am rather overweight at the moment. I am convinced and convicted that I must loose, not a few pounds, but many. Sadly there is no easy was to do this. Cut down on the eating and build up the walking ~the only steps that lead to the paradise of speed and feeling good at the end of a day's pilgrimage. This pilgrimage rather took me back to the first pilgrimage that I walked. That feeling of not knowing what is ahead and often failing to read the signs. For example, on this way there are municipal albergues at certain points. They are there for the good reason that the gaps between them are enough for one days walk. Some are a greater distance than others, this is when the section is easy. The closer together they are ,the more difficult the section. Nut brain , here, thinks in his own way, ' let's plough on, do two sections'. So one day was 11.5 hours walking. Difficulty indeed! This rather resulted in a less than spiritual pilgrimage, or so I thought at the time. The prayer was rather restricted to 'Lord get me up this hill/ to the Albergue. Higher intercession was lost in the physical grunt of getting on. But this is not a disaster. We are not followers of an eastern mystical teaching of spiritual detachment. Our God became flesh and took our flesh into the divine self. Thus we do not renounce the flesh, but embrace it, even when it is difficult and painful. And so another early lesson came back to mind that the shear physicality of pilgrimage can be prayer itself, body prayer. Archbishop Rowen recently said in a conference on Church fresh expressions that 'We should move into the space opened up by Jesus Christ'. This also means that we on a day to day talk hold of the day an make it part of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is found by possessing life rather than denouncing it.