In my last post, Taking Time to Reflect Each Day, I shared some thoughts from walking the Camino de Santiago in 2015. This was the second time I had walked this ancient path with my friend, Tammy, and for the last couple of weeks she and I have been going over our journals from that trip to see what new lessons the Lord wanted to teach us from that very rich experience.
In the next few posts I’ll be sharing with you more of what I learned because I think these lessons may apply to all of us.
We are all on pilgrimage
The Word of God is clear that we are all pilgrims on this journey through life. One example of this is in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament.
All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth…they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
These people put their faith in God and in God’s promise of a heavenly homeland, and their faith came at great personal sacrifice to themselves. They were tortured, killed, exiled, imprisoned – the list goes on.
All these great heroes of our faith had one thing in common – they all knew they were here on earth as pilgrims, just passing through. They had a better homeland in heaven, and they were living their lives here on earth getting ready for their heavenly home.
When we walked the Camino, we carried everything on our backs, town to town, mile after mile. Believe me, you don’t want to have anything extra in your backpack – only what is essential.
Every ounce counts AND gets heavier as the day goes on! So you learn to make due with very little.
Jesus warns us in the gospels about accumulating wealth. “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God,” He tells us.
We often sit back and relax when we hear that Gospel because we think, “Well, I’m not rich.” A priest recently challenged us about that in his homily, saying we needed to redefine what it means to be rich. He said that:
- if you have food to eat each day
- if you have a roof over your head
- if you have any level of education
- if you have clean water to drink
– you are rich compared to so many of our brothers and sisters in the world today.
St. Basil the Great said (to paraphrase) that the extra things we are hoarding belong to the poor: the clothes, the shoes, the money, surplus things we have stored up, belong to our brothers and sisters who are in need right now.
How much stuff do you have?
Think about your possessions. Do you even know what you have?
When you walk day after day with only what you have in your backpack, you get to know very clearly what you have in there. And because you are down to the bare minimum, you know right away if you left something behind by accident.
But what about in our homes? How much extra stuff are we piling up?
Take inventory of the things you surround yourself with. Are you traveling through this earthly pilgrimage light and unencumbered? Or are there things you and your family need to share with those in need?
Remember we are sojourners. We are only passing through.