Walking the Camino

Greetings and all good wishes from Portugal, where I am walking the Potuguese Camino, from Lisbon to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. I have been on the road for 11 days now and have arrived at a small town called Mealhada, having now walked 284 kms.

I have been reminded again, as I was reminded when I walked the Camino eight years ago, that many people make pilgrimages and have done so for hundreds of years. Pilgrimages are traditionally journeys to a holy place — a place where saints have walked, a place where God has met people and blessed them. For Catholics it may be Jerusalem, Rome, Fatima, Compostella; there are of course also many pilgrimage sites for people of other faiths. People through the ages have journeyed with God on pilgrimage — to perform a penance, to ask for healing, to pray for places where there is war or national disaster, to pray for friends, or as I am doing to pray for vocations. Pilgrimages are opportunities to travel lightly, to walk free of daily routines, to meet people, to make friends, to enjoy and celebrate God’s creation. An opportunity, too, in the travelling, the conversations and the silences to reflect on the journey of our lives and on our journey homewards to God. This is proving to be a kind of retreat for me, and I am getting good exercise at the same time; it is wonder-fully relaxing spiritually rewarding.

I have a number of prayers I pray each day, and many things I am recording in my Prayer Journal. I share one of the prayers with you with the prayer for you that it may help you on your life’s pilgrimage.

God of the guiding star, the bush that blazes Show me your WAY.

God of the stormy seas, the bread that nourishes Teach me your TRUTH.

God of the still, small voice, the wind that blows where it chooses Fill me with LIFE.

God of the elements, of our inward and outward journeys Set my feet on your road today.

May God bless me with a safe journey,

May the angels and saints travel with me

May I live this day in justice and joy.

With every blessing

+John