Now—in something completely unrelated to prayer book revision plans, I have a new post up at Godspace. This one is a musing around the concept of pilgrimage, and my way into it is a brief meditation on the Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator. If you’ve not encuntered this text before, I’d urge you to do so. It’s quite fascinating. I have a feeling I will drill into it quite a bit deeper at some point in time.
But that time is not now.
Too many other plates in the air at the moment…
Spiritually speaking, there are three kinds of pilgrimages
(a) that which involves a sincere proximity and exposure to a sacred
(b) that which involves the endurance of a long meditative trek and arrival;
(c) the abandonment of familiarity and the entry into the unknown,
occasionally tied in with a secondary missionary aspiration.
(a) is the person who, for instance, lives in Canterbury and visits St. Thomas’s tomb every day, or someone who moves their home to live near St. Gertrude’s Holy Well, or entering an anchorhold near/in a shrine. This involves affection, familiarity, and intimacy with a saint through her/his holy place.
(b) are those who travel the Camino Real to Compostella or the road to
Walsingham thoughtfully and meditatively—perhaps fasting and praying—the core of this is the trek itself almost as much as the goal.
(c) is the (almost exclusively Irish) tradition of Brendan toward the West, Columba toward Britain (Iona), Columbanus and St. Gall toward the Continent, etc. or the monks of Skellig Michael.
And there is possibly a fourth: the intentional creation of a holy place, or the making of a place holy (e.g. Richeldis’s Walsingham or Louis IX’s Sainte-Chapelle).
Of course, there’s a lot more to say about all of these kinds of pilgrimages—like you, I particularly love Brendan—but I just thought to offer an organizing principle for your thinking.
These are great thoughts! I’m going to have to ponder these quite a bit more…particularly how the fourth ties into the others and “bites the tail” of the first.