A Pilgrim's Table: "Allowing God to Act"

We should not be disturbed,
whatever the circumstances
in which God places us,
but let us allow Him to act,
uniting ourselves to His intentions;
in this way we will love
with pureness of love.

~ St. Teresa Margaret

A pilgrimage is a special kind of journey, one taken to a holy place with the hope for an encounter with the sacred and the intention of being changed by what happens there and along the way. We don't go on pilgrimages to return the same person... There is a sense of movement to this image that honors the dynamism of God. Pilgrimages also honor the power of physical places to change us and are thus deeply incarnational practices. Oftentimes when I go for a hike, I imagine I am on a pilgrimage, a sacred journey to a holy place, a journey which transforms me. We don’t have to go very far to respond to the invitation pilgrimage offers to us."~Christine of Abbey of the Arts

Coming up on September 15th is the feastday of Our Lady of Sorrows. A few weeks ago was St Helena of the Cross' feastday. And i'm starting to think its no accident to lately find such a longing for pilgrimage. I think we are all called to pilgrimage in our own ways.

St Helena was sure a pilgrim. In fact we remember her most not becuase she was an empress but becuase she was a pilgrim...she followed the dreams she was given and went on pilgramage to uncover Christ's true cross. And Our Lady was a pilgrim most of all, most especially in her aspect as Our Lady of Sorrows...sorrow is an opening if we let it be, an opening to "allow God to act". Joy is as well, but not alone...for sorrow is a true part of being impactable. And a pilgrim is an impacted one, someone who lets themselves be entered and changed.

Its funny about pilgrimages, so different than our heroic journies. In a heroic journey we try and make sure we are strong enough, ready enough, focused enough. We think we must be healed before our journey somehow, or at least must try to be. Not so with a pilgrimage, on a pilgrimage we rather GO to be healed, go to be changed in some way. We are not rushing out so much to enter and shift things but rather to be entered and be shifted.

And we all need this. Yet this sense of pilgrimage, i might say its the journey most especially of the heroine. I adore so much the heroes of the world, but i am a woman, and deep down i know i am destined not to be a hero but a heroine. And honestly i love that. Becuase deep down i long not to charge out on a quest but rather to set out pilgrimaging. I see pilgrimage as rather like the receptivity of receiving headship: We are all under the headship of God but women have a double dose by being under headship in earthly matters as well-- while men have an extra calling of giving headship there. So too with pilgrimage...we all need it, but a feminine heart may very well need its double dose-- and a male heart the addition of heroism to pilgrimage.

Anyway, the image of pilgrimage keeps coming back. It comforts, it heartens. And it doesn't demand us to be healthy and strong, which is a huge relief to this rather weak body right now. Men and women have gone on pilgrimges when their health or spirit was at its lowest point of despair. To know that in the journey and opening itself can be healing, rather than needing to be "strong" to even begin, it sends such warmth and relief to this heart...

(Image of Ivan and Vasilissa from The Firebird, from here)

Blog Archive