It’s been over seven months since I left Spain. I’m pleased to say that today, seven months after reaching kilometer zero at Finisterre, I still feel the sense of the pilgrimage. Yes, I am a Pilgrim! Reminders seem to come out of nowhere.
A good friend of mine, Chris, started his Way of St. James on May 9th from St. Jean Pied de Port. Chris and I met several times prior to his departure to talk about preparations and expectations. Now I get to follow his journey on his blog https://chriscaminojourney.com/ He is now on day twelve – hope you can read and enjoy his experiences too. He’s also doing a cool thing by tracking his t stops on https://trackmytour.com/0kGGn Really fun to see each spot that Chris “drops a flag.”
The other day during the prayers before Kathy and I and other Vincentians go into the neighborhood near our church to make home visits, we reflected on the gospel of the day. The theme was “You are forgiven!” As we discussed this, I mentally connected it to a similar phrase we hear a lot this time of year when Jesus said “Peace be with you.” I think these two phrases have the same message, one I learned deeply on my Camino. God doesn’t want us to carry guilt or worry or regrets or biases. I think He wants us to know that as long as we strive to know and understand Him and His will and be in fidelity with His will, our past is forgiven. Be at peace. And be unburdened so that we are completely capability of being all He intends us to be.
The most obvious and poignant moment for this message along the Camino is at the Cruz de Ferro where pilgrims leave a small stone at the foot of the Cross representing all of our transgressions. Accepting God’s peace and forgiveness isn’t easy. It takes work and trust in God’s love and a vulnerability that doesn’t come naturally for most of us, especially those of us who like to have a sense of control! But the freedom that comes with God’s peace is so powerful and so enabling. The effort has to be worth it.
I’m so blessed that my pilgrimage continues. Pray that yours does too!