Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trekking Buddies

As my wife and I prepare to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain - we are learning many things.  Camino "buddies" is one topic that comes up in many conversations that I read in the various camino forums and Facebook pilgrim groups.  The comments vary from the negative - snoring that interrupts your sleep - to the positive - great conversations and sharing of stories.  These "buddies" are those people who walk with you - either sharing their stories - or in silence - those who bandage others injuries and care for another pilgrim's blisters.  Some "buddies" share their trekking poles in difficult terrain - others share clothes - food - supplies.  Strangers when they started - friends for life - when their trek ends. Even here at home - "buddies" make the training more bearable - more friendly - less boring.  Our newest "buddy" is Dana - a friend from Poland who is visiting for a few months.  Little did she know that most of her time with us will be on the road ways and in the fields training for our Camino walk. Another person to share - to contemplate life with - to endure the many hours of training.

Arlene and Dana

As each of us walks our own "camino" - there will be many challenges and accomplishments - moments of sadness - times of joy.  Experiencing these moments alone can be a big burden - having someone to share them with - a joy.  In our spiritual lives - the same is true.  For those who have accepted Jesus as their personal saviour - no problem - He is always there - waiting - smiling - helping - consoling - for those who have yet to make a personal commitment to God - they walk alone. It makes no difference if one walks the Camino in Spain - or their own personal Camino - doing so alone can be very difficult - for many impossible.  Asking Jesus to be your trekking "buddy" throughout life - will lighten the burden immensely. If you need a "buddy" - ask Jesus - He is available.

Deacon Dale

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pond Skimmer

Last summer I redesigned my fish pond - tore it down to the dirt - rebuilt it from the ground up. One of the new features - in addition to a much bigger waterfall - the skimmer.  The skimmer is a device that draws pond water into a holding area where dirt and debris are filtered out of the water before the water is pumped back into the pond. I also have an oak tree by the pond.  This spring the oak tree dropped tons of flowers - called catkins - onto the ground and into the pond. These catkinds can create a mess and in the pond they did exactly that.  My skimmer has been working overtime just to filter all  those particles and tiny stems out of the water.  The fish do not seem to mind - but I do.  All these dropping end up on the filter inside the skimmer and guess who gets to clean the filter - me.  Last summer- after I installed the skimmer - I had to clean the filter two or three times until the winter - when I cleaned it once.  Now this year - so far - I have cleaned it a dozen times or so - sometimes as often as every three days. If I am diligent and keep up with this task - the fish will be able to live in a clean pond.

Pond Skimmer

When Catholics go to confession in the Rite of Reconciliation with their priest - the priest acts in a similar way as the skimmer. Through prayerful discussion - the "dirt" clouding a person's life is removed and handed over to Jesus - who deals with it.  After reconciliation - the penitent is returned back into the mainstream of life - purified - cleansed.  Jesus is there waiting for all of us - to realize that He can and will cope with any issue that dirties the waters of our lives.  It only takes a few minutes - for miracles to happen - for loads to be lifted - sins removed - healing begun.  If you are wading in murky waters - if your life is not as pure as you would like - seek Jesus - the ultimate healer of hearts and souls.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

To Walk Far - Carry Less

To Walk Far, Carry Less is the title of a book dealing with the issue of ultralight backpacking - specifically for those considering walking the 500 mile El Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In this book the author provides insight to her experience planning and walking the Camino.  She shares how she selected the lightest weight items to put into her backpack and other weight saving tips. The most drastic tip - suggesting cutting off size tags and manufacturer labels - once you made the decision to keep the item - and carry in the pack.  In her original book - published in November 2011 - she calculated that with all the tags removed she was able to trim almost one pound of weight. That translates into a lot of items with tags. Since that time many manufacturers have stopped sewing tags onto their clothing - using a new imprint method to eliminate tags.  Still - as my wife and I continue our training and selecting items for our backpack - we have noticed that only four or five items actually have tags - cutting them off would save us a very small amount of weight - but we did it anyhow.  Where weight on the Camino is important - we eliminate any unnecessary weight where we can.
In our personal lives and on our spiritual journeys - we need to follow the same mantra - To walk far - carry less.  Too many of us are carrying burdens that we should have given up ages ago. Old arguments - family squabbles - issues with work - things we have been unable to change - worries about our health - things we wished we had never done - sins committed - sins never confessed - to ourselves - to God.  All these things - are like "dust bunnies" - that we accumulate when we crawl under the bed and through dusty closets - we emerge covered with the "lint of life".  Unfortunately - too many - allow these issues to cling to their spirit - to weigh them down - to make life look worse than it is.  In confession - we are allowed to take this excess baggage and hand it over to Jesus - to give to Him - all our concerns - all our worries - all our sins - that we may be freed from this "lint of life" - to walk lighter - to walk refreshed - to walk anew in the Spirit.   Trust Jesus - He is there - waiting for you to unburden your life - to leave your baggage at the foot of His Cross - where He alone will deal with it.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, June 3, 2013

One Day Camino - Training Event

Previosuly I posted about walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  As a training tool - my wife and I have designed a one day Camino - here in Illinois.  Rather than walk this alone - we are inviting adventurous individuals to join us on this trek.

Click link above to read flier

There are two forms that are required to participate on this Camino.
Registration Deadline July 3, 2013
You must click the links provided below and print out each page. 
Your completed "Participation Form" should be mailed to:
 DeaconTravel Ministries  
PO Box 124   
Bristol, IL 60512
You may Sign and Scan your Form and send as an email attachment

If you want a commemorative Camino t-shirt, then indicate your shirt
size on the Participation Form and enclose your donation of $20 (if mailing)
otherwise your donation will be collected the day of the Camino.
Checks should be made out to:  St Gianna Molla Shrine Fund

Camino Participation Form (pdf)

Camino Participants Information Form (pdf)

Any questions?  Ask!

Deacon Dale