We all have taken a trip somewhere, even if it is just to go to Trader Joe’s and buy some delicious root beer drink. Not all trips or vacations are pilgrimages. Muslims celebrate their faith in pilgrimage by visiting Mecca. Catholics pilgrimage to the Vatican to restore their faith or to some other shrine, such as Lourdes. http://www.etstours.com/tours/category/5af07f024c5b614854ef099a/
What is the difference between a pilgrimage and a vacation? Both give rest to the mind and heart. Only a pilgrimage stresses the words of Christ:
The Praise of the Father.25n At that time Jesus said in reply,* “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.26Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.27All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.ohttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/11#:~:text=28*%20%E2%80%9CCome%20to%20me%2C,will%20find%20rest%20for%20yourselves.
The Gentle Mastery of Christ. 28* “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest.29*p Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.30For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/11#:~:text=28*%20%E2%80%9CCome%20to%20me%2C,will%20find%20rest%20for%20yourselves.
A pilgrimage is a journey, one of mind and heart, one that may or may not have several stops along the way to think about how Jesus loves us so much that he gave his life for the ransom of many. These sites are holy ones, not like going to Las Vegas to see Cirque du Soleil.
Over a period of four or five blogs (at eight one years of age, I lose my precision but not my reason–so far), I will share with you three or four stops that my group made. Pilgrimages are most effective when you have others to join you so you might allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through them. I had one partner, Peter Cowdrey, Good Shepherd Parish, Tallahassee, Florida, share these ideas.
ST. MEINRAD ARCHABBEY: Jennifer’s story
You don’t know Jennifer. I didn’t have the pleasure of her company until August 6, 2021, when we stopped by St. Meinrad Archabbey to visit my classmate, Father John McMullen, O.S.B., also 81 years of age. Father John and I grew up in Vincennes, Indiana, together and entered St. Meinrad High School. This was a key stopover in my pilgrimage, perhaps the last time we will see each other this side of the parousia. Who knows.
After breakfast, Peter and I were waiting to attend the Eucharist at Abbey Church at 11:00 a.m. and had some time to kill (a better word might seek God) and went to the Book Store. Because of COVID, there were not yet many visitors to the Archabbey, so we had the place all to ourselves. Jennifer was an employee of the Book Store. Peter and I had a wonderful chat with her, and she shared a story that I will pass on to you. My point is: The Holy Spirit speaks to each of us sinners every day. On the pilgrimage, we were attuned to listening to the Holy Spirit with the “ear of the heart,” as St. Benedict says in the Prologue to his Rule. This is the story Jennifer shared with us over her iPhone.