To go in a spirit of prayer from one place to another, from one city to another, in the area marked especially by God's intervention, helps us not only to live our life as a journey, but also gives us a vivid sense of a God who has gone before us and leads us on, who himself set out on man's path, a God who does not look down on us from on high, but who became our traveling companion."

 (Read the complete letter)

 

The Way of the Pilgrim

Perceiving the extraordinary in the ordinary

The pilgrimage is a way of living rather than a fifteen day journey to a sacred place. The way we perceive a pilgrimage is not the arrival at a destination, it is the journey itself, and this is also a metaphor for life. The pilgrimage can teach us a new way of living that we call the pilgrim lifestyle. A pilgrim who has an experience of an inner opening to Christ during such journeys will not be the same person when he returns home. He will notice his everyday life will look different and will be different. In fact a real change in the outer world can only take place by a change of attitude and awareness inside us.

Our relationships, including with other people, with ourselves, with our environment, and with time need to be perceived in depth. What does this mean? It means that we usually look at people, things, and our experience very superficially. We don’t exercise the great gifts that our Lord gave to each one of us, we don’t feel life inside ourselves and recognize His presence in everything. This can be verified if we observe from inside our daily life.

Why are these ideas connected with pilgrimage and our faith?

A pilgrimage is an opportunity to enter into a new dimension of life, and to answer an inner calling of God, whether it is conscious or unconscious.

A pilgrimage requires a higher level of attention and sharper perceptions as we travel in places where our surroundings, environment, culture, religion, food, smells, and so on may be completely new for us.

A pilgrimage helps us to tune ourselves with other people through whom we can receive  their faith, support and inspiration.

The sacred places we visit are themselves a manifestation of the divine, a special source of help, where we feel sheltered and uplifted. We then become  more receptive to the beauty both inside us and outside us and more respectful towards all creatures and our environment .  This is why being a pilgrim is not only a role we take for a short time, but also a way of living.

Kronos and Kairos

The pilgrim way is a choice to live fully our days on this planet, to become more alert, more awake, to become more and more aware of what we are surrounded by. If I am not able to feel life in myself in a profound way, am I then able to love my neighbor? A pilgrimage can be a shock that breaks our usual routine and switches on our perceptions and senses  to help us wake up to life. Our daily routine needs life to perceive the extraordinary in the ordinary, to feel the presence of Christ in depth in every moment. We plan and run after things, caught as we are in kronos, linear time. The Time of God is Kairos, is the moment, not a sequence of seconds or minutes; it is the moment when God act on us. He is always present inside us, but we are not in this sacred space in ourselves to meet Him.  A pilgrimage can lead us through an inner descent to this, our innermost sacred destination.

Respectful and receptive

Our behavior will consist of silence, listening, prayer, observation, sharing, and being accessible and open to all of the opportunities that a journey might present. With constant assistance from pastoral guides and the Kairos/ORP staff, who will coordinate all on-site services, we will witness these places under the light of the Word of God. A moment of listening, an itinerary of faith, a time for conversion—participating in a pilgrimage always means going towards a destination to converge one's personal history with the story of Salvation.