The Illuminated Journey...
Jesus enters Jerusalem
“Pilgrimage is one of those pious words that scare many people off because they’re afraid they’re going to have to walk over rocks in their bare feet and eat gruel for six months.
It’s actually far less esoteric than that. You’ve probably already been on a pilgrimage once or twice in your life—perhaps when you visited the town where you grew up and you walked its streets with a full heart, seeing everything through the lens of memory. Or when you took a trip with a friend facing something big and scary, like a serious cancer diagnosis, and along with the fun was the knowledge of a powerful undertow just beneath the surface, making every stop for ice cream and view of a sunset bittersweet.
Such trips are pilgrimages because they touch the heart and soul. There’s nothing wrong with an ordinary vacation, for sometimes what we most need to do is chill out on a beach with a mystery novel and a gin and tonic. But there are other times—which tend to come after losses and at decade birthdays and transition points like graduations and retirements—when the road calls to us in a different way.
The Garden Tomb
Most religions recognize the value of pilgrimage, with Muslims journeying to Mecca, Jews to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and Christians to the sites connected to the lives of Jesus and the saints. The point isn’t to have a good time, but rather to grow spiritually.
Through much of human history, in fact, pilgrimages were dangerous, requiring people to leave the safety of their homes not knowing if they would ever return. Such trips were sometimes undertaken as a form of penance or to fulfill a promise made to God after the fulfillment of a prayer.
And one of the truths of pilgrimage is that often its most important part is not the destination, but what happens on the way.”
(“Holy Rover: Journeys in search of Mystery, Miracles and God”, Lori Erickson)