Going on a pilgrimage is much more than simply putting on your boots, and setting out on the path and walking. It is about giving our pains, our joys, and our restlessness to God.
The first time I made the Camino de Santiago in Europe, I did not know you do not need to take a book in your backpack for the times of rest. The best pages are told by those who cross paths with us and, in the simplicity of a lunch in the middle of the garden, gives us their story.
I did not know that it’s not the GPS that guides us when we do not see arrows. It is the others who tell us that we have chosen the wrong way, even when we ignore them because we are going to listen to “our music.”
Nor did I know that it is not the credential stamps that make us pilgrims. What makes us pilgrims are the people we meet in different places, those who give us water, even when we think we do are not thirsty.
Going on a pilgrimage is to allow them to look after us, for we are fragile. It is taking care of those who have a pain so much greater than ours. It is trusting that we will reach Santiago de Compestela without even seeing the cathedral.
To be a pilgrim is to give our lives to God and to know that we are loved and not alone on this pilgrimage of life.
- Rita Fernandes
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Portugal)