Pilgrims' Potpourri

Reflections on our journey with God

The Lighthouse at the end of the World June 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — karedsol @ 11:12 am

Finisterrae´s lighthouse is positioned at the western most end of the island and sits on a lone rocky point. Weather in this part of the world is often a thick, foggy mist which covers the moutains and valleys. There are times when one can barely see the houses that dot the country side and the little villages. We have spent some time sitting on the rocks at the end of the world. Surrounded by water, some gulls and rocks, when the fog comes in, this place is almost surreal. This kind of weather and lonesome spot on some rocks surrounded by the vast Atlantic ocean makes one realize just how small we are and brings us to the center of our existential condition. We are very tiny beings trying to find ourselves and are often in a kind of fog. Things are hidden; meaning is obscured; identifying landmarks is a difficult task at best. The lighthouse perched high on a rock is the one dependable marker in the landscape. Its light guides the mariners who work the seas, providing a point of reference and a safehaven in the dark mist. For Christians, Jesus is the Lighthouse; the one on whom we depend to find our way in this world; the one whose light never dims but shines on the path that leads from the end of the world to the beginning of new life. What a great blessing it is to know the Eternal Light and to trust that while on our Caminos, when the way becomes obscure, the fog sets in and we cannot see our hands before us, the Eternal Light leads us safely home. A favorite prayer by John Henry Neuman captures the essence of this reflection.  We share it with you for your own contemplation.

Lead, Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

May the Lord´s light shine on your paths wherever they take you.

 

We have come this far by faith… June 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — karedsol @ 7:39 pm

Leaning on the Lord. Oh oh oh can’t turn around we’ve come this far be faith. This song refrain was one we sang throughout the second half of our journey. Our journey has been one of faith. Throughout the Camino, we had doubts about the direction to turn, our ability to withstand the rigors of the daily walk, where we would find lodging and if the weather would be favorable.

We arrived safely in Finisterrae yesterday after a 3 hour bus ride from Santiago. Many pilgrims travel here after the Camino to rest, process the Camino journey, and listen to the pounding of the ocean. The Romans believed this was the end of the earth, terra firma. This is an apprppriate place for us to come at the end of this portion of our pilgrimage. We are returning home to move to a new city and a new diaconal assignment. Leaving the familiar home we have lived in for 18 years to embrace the new. We overlook the ocean here and can see for miles the mountainous coastline. The views are spectacular. We look forward to the views from our new place , new undertakings, new endeavors. We pray you too get some beautiful views from your places.

We invite you to view the pictures we post when we return home. They may help to illuminate the reflections we have posted and even invite you to experience the Camino Santiago de Compostela!
As always many blessings and love to you, Karen and Ed

 

Santiago de Compostela: The End and the Beginning June 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — karedsol @ 12:35 pm

We have arrived in Santiago, praise God from who all blessings flow! Yesterday, June 1 was such a gorgeous day with bright sunshine, blue skies and a gentle breeze. We made the decision to try to walk all the way from Arzua to Santiago without an overnight stop. We were so excited to be so close to the Pilgrim City that we walked 24 miles, starting at 6 am and arriving here 11 hours later at 5 pm. We were tired, our feet were sore but our Spirits soared as we saw the city from Monte Del Gozo. This mountain, the mountain of joy, is about 5 kilometers from Santiago and offers a panoramic view of the sprawling city. The climb to the top of the mountain  filled us with great joy to see that the end of our 570 mile journey was now within sight. We found lodging and went to the Cathedral to venerate the tomb of the Apostle James and asborb the blessings that seemed to be present everywhere in the stone, in the sanctuary, in the massive cathedral, in the Blessed Sacrament and in the countless pilgrims arriving. We cannot fully express what it means to us to be here. It will take some time to process the Camino and to open up the treasures we have been given on this journey. We then went to the Pilgrim´s office to show our pilgrim´s passports. These are the documents that contain the stamps from all the places we walked  on the Camino. They provide validation that we have indeed walked the required mileage to receive the Compostela. The Compostela is a certificate written in Latin that all pilgrim´s receive when they complete the Camino. But the Compostela is not the reason we walked the way of St. James, nor is it a reward for the accomplishment. Rather, the Compostela forever marks us as pilgrims, followers, seekers on the path.  We have walked in the footsteps of the many pilgrims who have followed Christ by following the way of the Apostle James.  Inside the Cathedral, we went up the steps behind the main altar to say a prayer before the beautiful statue of St. James that stands above the main altar.  As I(ed) put my hand on the shoulder of this statue, I prayed that I may never forget that I am a pilgrim in this life; that I may never stand still in one place and get too comfortable; that I may always be open to the movement of God’s holy spirit wherever that Spirit may take me.  It was a frigthening prayer, but a freeing one.  I think the Apostle may have whispered in my heart: Do not be afraid, for the Lord is always with you.  God has been with us on this journey and will be as the journey continues.  Today is Ascension Thursday, a major holyday in Christendom and in Spain it is a fiesta day.  We went to the noon Pilgrims’ mass in a packed Cathedral.  What  a perfect end and beginning for us as perregrinos.   The Lord´s message to his followers as he ascended is to Go and preach the good news to all.  With God´s strength we will each follow that command in our own way.  Buen Camino, friends and Blessings in abundance.