St Columba’s, Queen Street, Nairn, IV12 4AA
Dear Friends, I can hardly believe that the last time I wrote for this magazine I was in the process of preparing to go to Spain, and now, writing again with it all past; rucksack packed away, clothes washed and feet …. recovering. Souvenirs and photos to tell the story and memories to share. It all seemed a very long time in the planning and has now gone past so quickly.
Because I landed in Santiago before I travelled to my start point, I was able to visit the Pilgrimage Museum which tells the story of pilgrimage through the ages, before I made my own journey. I found that a very powerful experience. There, Christian pilgrimage is placed within the wider context of all the world religions and the culture of making a pilgrimage as an act of faith. There is also a section where a modern pilgrim is invited to reflect on the origins of Christian pilgrimage, rooted in the Jewish heritage of journeying to Jerusalem for specific festivals but also in the journeys described in the New Testament such as, the journey of the Magi, the flight into Egypt, the walk to Emmaus and the journeys of the early apostles.
I was captivated by this because it was something I had never really thought about. We are so used to thinking about our Celtic Saints travelling and teaching and inspiring our journeys of faith, it never really occurred to me that, in fact, making a journey as an act of faith and devotion has origins which are much older and rooted in the words of scripture itself.
It is something which will always stay with me and was a good place to begin because walking “the Way” there were places where we really felt that we were walking in the footsteps of countless pilgrims who have followed this sacred trail for a thousand years.
Pilgrim statue at Monte de Gozo
We will create an opportunity to share some of this with you and show some of the pictures. Our own parish pilgrimage to Iona will be in April 2020 and booking forms will be going out in September.
Bearing that in mind, I leave you with a brief quote from the Irish scholar John O’Donohue who says that we are all pilgrims on a journey through life and every now and then our lives are touched by glimpses of the divine, for that reason “a pilgrim travels differently; always with a pilgrimage, there is a change of mind and a change of heart”.
Wishing you every blessing.