Thursday, October 18, 2012

El Camino de Santiago de Compostela

El Camino de Santiago de Compostela was the focus of "The Way" - a movie that I viewed recently written by Emilio Estevez and starring actor Martin Sheen. It is a moving story of a father and son and of a very special journey. As a deacon whose primary ministry these days is promoting pilgrimages - this movie - opened my eyes to what I would consider one of the ultimate pilgrimage experiences.  While the normal pilgrimages I promote involve traveling to distant lands - Israel and the Holy Land - Italy and The Vatican - involving ten or eleven days - The Way - promotes a walking pilgrimage of some 800 Kilometers (497 miles) that takes anywhere from a minimum of two weeks up to a month or more to complete. It does not feature air-conditioned buses and four-star hotels - rather, gravel paths and inexpensive hostels. It is a pilgrimage walked by some two hundred thousand or so pilgrims yearly - for the past thousand years. It is a journey - not into impressive cathedrals and basilicas - but rather into one's own heart - and the hearts of fellow pilgrims on the way.  It requires special preparation - good hiking boots - stamina - to complete the journey.
Jesus was not unfamiliar with walking - visiting places outside of His home town.  He walked with a purpose - His mission - to spread the Good News to anyone who would listen. He traveled light - He traveled with companions. His walks brought Him to many places and peoples - into the hearts of those who met Him - and even today - into the hearts of people who He never saw. As we walk our own journeys - we need to walk with intent - with conviction - with honesty - with God. Wherever our travels take us - The Holy Land - The Vatican - The local shopping mall - we walk as modern day disciples - we carry Jesus in our hearts - we share the Good News - we show what modern day disciples look like. May our paths meet one day - on The Way.

Deacon Dale