Jesuit life

Off on Pilgrimage

In one week’s time most of us will be on pilgrimage. Before we found out where we were going, we had an impression that there were two options:
– The Spanish pilgrimage: Walking from Bilbao to Barcelona for 4 weeks.
– The English pilgrimage: Walking from Birmingham to Walsingham, then to Canterbury and then back to Birmingham for 6 weeks.
When I first heard this, all I could think about was ‘please don’t send me to Spain’. I don’t know any Spanish and as I have family and friends in and around London, the English pilgrimage would be so much easier.
Needless to say, I am going to be one of the people going to Spain.
After letting the news sink in, I realised that it does make sense. Simply, the pilgrimage is supposed to challenge and push us outside of our comfort zone.  It will be less strenuous if we are going to a place where familiar faces live along the route. Thankfully, I’ll be going with Henry who knows a bit of Spanish and we will be forced to rely on other people and not pretend to be self-sufficient. So that anything given or anyone that helps us, will not be seen as something we ‘earned’ but something that was ‘given’ or ‘offered’ by other people’s kindness. And if anything just turns up which helps us, then we’re attributing it God.
The route we will be taking is As you can see, to go from west to east in 4 weeks will mean that we will be in a hurry. So if you find yourself between Bilbao and Barcelona at any time in June and you see two guys with backpacks trudging along the road, please offer a helping hand or a prayer, because chances are, we’ll need it.
– Peter

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