YEAR OF FAITH – “to be a pilgrim”

posted 23 Aug 2013, 06:56 by Susan Weaver

John Bunyan’s words have been popular for nearly four hundred years, especially set to the tune which we recognise today, but the rest of the words are difficult to understand.  I think that being a pilgrim, and going on a pilgrimage, means something different for each one of us.

A pilgrimage involves a journey to some special place.  It can also be used in the sense of going back to somewhere that holds special memories for us and re-living our experiences, but we might find that our journey turns out to be different from what we expected.  We often learn a great deal about ourselves and our relationships with others; and we sometimes see the face of Christ in the most unlikely people.  If our destination has a connection to Our Lady, she always shows us the way to her son; and we might come back from a pilgrimage a little bit different from the people we were when we set out, even if we don’t see that immediately.

Of course, we do not have to make a physical journey to be a pilgrim.  We can go on a journey, mentally, to discover something about God and about our relationship with him.  The Church’s liturgical year encourages us to look upon the time of Advent and Lent as journeys of discovery; and there is the sense that the whole of our life as a Christian is a pilgrimage, following in the footsteps of Jesus, and imitating the way he lived his life.  I think the words of the hymn “Amazing Grace” fit very well here.  They make a good background to any pilgrimage.

 Next Year of Faith discussion group at St. Hugh’s - Sat. 21st September after 10 am Mass.