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July 12, 2009

The “Richness” of the Pilgrimage!

    Thus far this summer has proven to be quite disappointing for everyone who has planned vacation time in the outdoors.  It has been great weather for those of us who enjoy reading or watching movies but there has to be more to life than being a couch potato.  Summer, after all, is already so short; must we be plagued with such bad weather?

    Vacation time comes rarely for many people and a good, relaxing, and energizing vacation is indeed hard to find these days. Maybe that is because we do not always know where to look.  More and more, the natural beauty of the wilderness and the wide expanses of nature are being replaced by businesses and property bought up for technological advancement.  Places we once loved to visit have been destroyed for financial gain.  There are still many places to visit however; we just have to be more creative and more determined to find them.  We cannot allow ourselves to settle for less.

    One area that many of us do not often think to explore is the idea of a spiritual pilgrimage.  Perhaps that is because we often associate a pilgrimage with something that is either boring or rigid or too “prayerful” to be interesting or relaxing.  In reality this is not the case however.  Depending on the type of pilgrimage we choose, such a trip could be very relaxing, energizing, and enriching.  

    A pilgrimage can be made by plane, by train or by car.  It can also be made by walking or hiking if we prefer.  The mode of travel can be determined by the pilgrim depending on their time crunch and their preference for travel or their ability to pay.  There is something for everyone, the world traveler or the novice adventurer, the rich or the poor alike.  

    Why would anyone choose to go on a pilgrimage for a vacation?  In short, a pilgrimage most often brings out the best in everyone.  Also, there is a focal point to concentrate on which helps to elevate us from the depth of our being.  We meet people on our path that teach us important lessons we are meant to learn if we are to grow.  When we are serious about our goal we tend to forget our work and all we leave behind.  Our senses are cleared and our life is enriched beyond measure.  A pilgrimage, if done right, is extremely relaxing as well as rewarding.

    Have you ever been on a pilgrimage?  Why not try one next time you are planning a get away and have no idea where to go?  Take time to research your destination.  If you have no idea where to begin, ask around.  Your parish priests may know of several destinations that would be of interest to you.  Search the web for ideas.  The great thing about this type of vacation is that it can easily be done alone but it can also work well with a spouse or friend.  Have a great pilgrimage.
                            Lorette P. Nault