Thursday, November 20, 2014

Well Said: Pilgrimage and a blessedness rooted in "the act of seeing"

To the pilgrim Dante, Beatrice explained that the purpose of all human existence is to see God; love itself is a means leading to this end. In analogous fashion, the Holy Years—times particularly dedicated to God—perfect the means and lead to the end. An indiscreet love that, according to Peter Chrysologus, nonetheless has the "ardor of piety" drives millions of people to undertake the pilgrimage to Rome, and at the end of the pilgrimage they want to see something; they have made the trip in order to taste, here on earth, a blessedness rooted in "the act of seeing." This is the logic of the system of great signs that accompany the life of believers—the sacramental system, that is; and it is the logic of pilgrimage, which is a "sacrament" of the individual's search for God.
Timothy Verdon, Art & Prayer
Somehow this makes great sense to me. Connecting the pilgrim's need to "see," to be in a place and experience in the flesh all the art, architecture, sounds, smells, and everything physical ... with the sacred.

Perhaps it is deeply rooted in what I love about Catholicism. The Church takes every chance to connect our bodies and souls with the divine. Pilgrimage takes that experience of finding the sacred through those things at mass and allows us to link it to the wider world, to the other physical things which God has given to help us "see" Him. Fascinating.

Of course, I am drawn right now to pilgrimage meditations because of the proposed pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Diana Von Glahn, The Faithful Traveler. We can't go if enough people don't go with us. Surely that is part of the physical experience for a pilgrim? Fellow travelers on the way? Who bless you, who get in your way, who make you think, and who may carry God's message to you. If you think you might be interested in journeying to "Come and see" the Holy Land, check out the link. And sign up!

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