Travel is trending and seems on everyone’s list be it a bucket list. It may be a vacation, a weekend, or an ongoing adventure, travel is everywhere. People are looking at fulfilling dreams, and creating memories. There is a shift to experience now. It has been building lately and you see it everywhere. An example is the Tiny house where people live in a small little place in order that they may have a larger life. To experience is to live! Travel is on the minds and thoughts of many. Yet, there is something else out there in the travel world. Many are now just discovering the concept of meaningful travel. For centuries it was “The Pilgrimage”.
The pilgrimage is a way of travel in that you make religious journey. It can be local to a place that is sacred, holy and or prayerful. It could also be a longer journey to a destination that is farther. The purpose and meaning of a pilgrimage are different for each. Some go to ask for heavenly aid. Some go to become closer and to know God better, and some to venerate or give thanks. My journeys this year are filled with aspects of each .
I feel as though it might be a lost art and this is at a true detriment to our souls. To begin a journey that is a pilgrimage it to step outside a comfort zone of your life. It could mean stepping outside of one’s self in the aspect of prayer. Or perhaps in the aspect of comfort, it can even be stepping outside of your comfort area with Christ. Taking him out of the corner of your life you have placed him and bringing him to the forefront. It is not comfortable but the gifts are immense. To experience a pilgrimage is to experience LIFE.
When we lose the aspect of pilgrimage we lose a great gift that countless Christians before us have given us. Since the death of Christ, Christians have been making pilgrimages to holy places. It has been part of who we are. Yet I somehow feel we have somewhat lost it. It makes me sad. So I am using this Jubilee Year of Mercy to revive a little of that pilgrimage spirit. What a great invitation and perfect time to experience it.
The Dynamic Catholic describes it like this “The Year of Mercy is an invitation—an invitation to love, kindness, and unbounded generosity. Pope Francis is offering you the opportunity to encounter the incredible mercy of God. Encountering mercy means encountering God. It can transform your life, your relationships, your work, and your ability to embrace and experience all of life.”
My first pilgrimage this year was to experience Grand Catholic Italy. I was able to experience not only the “Holy Doors” in Rome but throughout Italy. I was able to see and walk in places millions of Christians have before me. I was able to witness the resting places of great saints who have gone before me. I was able to witness my own faith in the pilgrimage journey in the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
During a Jubilee year for the church the Holy Doors are open. This only happens in increments of 25 to 50 years and for most a once in a lifetime journey. It is a complete gift we have been given. I notice though many do not quite understand what is open for us during this year. It’s perhaps been set aside and filed away. My prayer is many will discover what this means and they too make a pilgrimage.
I encourage you to blow open the windows of your comfortable life and seek him who seeks you. Go on a journey, experience a pilgrimage! Perhaps, like me you will discover meaningful travel and it will change your life.