It was an ordinary Sunday, in ordinary time. As I walked into the Cathedral I had the distinct feeling that I was walking into my inner sanctuary. Everything taking place in the Cathedral during the Sacred Liturgy was actually taking place in me. The implication meant I was a walking Cathedral, a continual liturgy, Christ presence everywhere I went, in everything I spoke and in all that I did. This glimpse occurred while I was writing this book on inner Pilgrimage. I recovered a sense of God’s indwelling Trinity, the greatest gift of baptism. In this and upcoming posts I will present draft copies of what I hope to be a published book on our inner Pilgrimage.
Seeking Light and Beauty
“God opens up for everyone, right in the middle of the world
and in ordinary life, paths toward a more radical life
of contemplation and sanctity.” Cardinal Sarah, Silence
Fr. Roderick posted updates from his pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela on Facebook. Some photos, such as that of a snail glowing in the sunrise, mountain streams, roads weaving into the distance, begged to be posted on Instagram and Facebook. Old churches, ruins, statues of famous pilgrims and even photos of local food touched my inner longing to head toward a great destination. Sacred Pilgrimage provides a path to walk on, things to see, experiences to share and stories to tell. Santiago de Compostela, the Way of St. James, may be the best known Christian pilgrim destination. A road traveled for over 1,000 years, embedded in history. People who live near this road are part of a rich history, traditionally preparing rooms and meals for pilgrims. A pilgrim passport gets stamped at these hostels. What about this venture stirs up a longing embedded in our universal memory?
There are moments in life when our soul longs to be free of all but the deepest part of ourselves. My longing for an empty, plain, dry, desert-road pilgrimage happened during a juncture in life that felt empty, dry, and deserted. Life as I knew it was falling apart. Actually it was the life I imagined for myself and my loved ones that was coming apart. My relationship with God was changing when I needed God most. Fr. Ronald Rolheiser describes this as the scriptural road to Emmaus, the path discouraged disciples took away from Jerusalem. Jerusalem represents the story that painfully fell apart. To travel back into Jerusalem can only happen through the breaking open of God’s Word and Eucharist.
I set out on the road to Emmaus after leaving Jerusalem where the promises I counted on had just died. Jerusalem was foreboding, yet I was attracted to return there. Early Church mothers and fathers were attracted to the desert in this same way. St Bruno, in his thirst to see and hear God, longed for the solitude and silence of the desert. The desert road seemed the only way that wouldn’t take me further from myself. In my thirst I was being led to the inner oasis of God’s flowing mercy. To my astonishment, the oasis of God was found where I had not looked for it.
…to be continued as Sr. Margaret presents snippets of her book awaiting publication.
Copyright 2017 Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp