I have been walking with a friend named Francisco from the beginning. He is like walking with the tortoise. He is very slow but consistent,mostly walking the 19 to 24 kilometers a day. I am mostly walking about an hour a head of him always but the last section of the Camino. We begin to walk the last two sections and he does not stop. We walk 25 kilometers and he says lets go farther. We keep walking another 23kilometers, till we arrive in Santiago. He said he felt God was driving him forward. He would often say I was so driving him.0
This last sections was very hard but it was as we began, but with the great relief of walking into the church of Saint James and being able kneel at the crypt. We woke up the next morning overwhelmed that we walked 48 kilometers and the Camino was completed 33 days and 500 miles. The question we asked our selves was, where did the time go?. We have walked for 33 days 500 miles in wind and rain, over mountain and across prairies, through small villages and great cities. The Camino is truly like life. We begin life never truly thinking of the end but knowing it will end. The thing we must learn is, like the Camino we must not forget to see God around us in everything and to truly relish the gift He gives us. He is present in everything and everyone and if we forget to see him and to talk to him and about him we truly miss the great journey we are on. May God lead us always on our journey.
We are nearing the end of the way. We have gotten to the town of Sarria the 100 kilometer point of the Camino. At this point people will begins their pilgrimage so that they receive their compestello stamp. Many are tourist who carry no bag walk to the next hotel and enjoy a leasurly walk.
It is a mad rush to Santiago and the crouds have gone from the 10s to the 100s. It is hard at times to keep the Camino spirit. But we must remember that the Camino is made of all these things the good, the bad, and the ugly. I also keep on thinking of the heavenly Camino and praying always for that end of life conversion and the celebration in heaven. I pray that those who seem only to be enjoying a leasurly walk may find their Camino way…
We begin most days before sun rise, so we walk in darkness relying on head lamps and yellow arrows to point the way. I was beginning an early morning leaving a village about 7am. The signs were very few leaving the city, but we walked with great zeal heading for the next part of our journey. We came to a crossroad with no signage or poor signage. We decided to keep going in the same direction thinking we will see a sign farther a long. Finally we came to dead end with roads going left or right without any noticeable sign. The group I was walking with split into two groups one going left the other going right. I choose the left,(which is never a good choice) my group was fast and making good time. But, I came to realize we were going away from our destination instead of towards it. I stopped,turned around and told the group and I a lone proceeded to cross two open fields off the path straight for the city and I found my way.
I can not help but think of our journey toward heaven. Sometimes we loose our way and we can keep going in the wrong direction. We may even be following others in the wrong direction. But no matter how fast we go or many people are going in that direction it still is the wrong way. So we have to stop, find the best way and get back on track, even if no one follows us.
I haven’t written in a while because of the long walks or late days. I have been going 15miles to 25 miles a day getting into the villages late with only the time to celebrate mass and wash up and eat before lights out at 10:00(sometimes 9:00because people so worn out that they turn the lights out early). It is interesting the people are new now on this section of the Camino. The people I began with some Irish or Italian, many have left only to do another section next year. A new group began after the city of Burgos and are starting another section or starting a shorter part of the Camino. I have talked with many pilgrims and so many people are searching for something that they cannot even explain themselves but they are searching. I have been offering masses for friends and family along the way and now I begin to see the needs of the many pilgrims lost along the way searching for someway in life searching for the peace of God. Pray for the pilgrim and all seeking that they may find God and the way.
I have been on this camino for 12 days. The first days were the hardest, everything hurt; the legs,the feet, and the back, until you become accustomed to the walk.
Now, the body is stronger and the mind spends time thinking especially in the long quiet stretches of simple paths. The time is present to know oneself, grow in knowledge of Others and God on the camino.
In the camino the pilgrims come to know each other and the questions become deeper. I have been talking with several people about faith and especially about coming back to the faith. It seems on this journey, pilgrims seem open to talk and listen. As we walk together, we are on two journeys one to Santiago and the other to a deeper love of God.
Today’s gospels spoke of the parable of the sowing of seeds. As I walked the camino I thought of the path and the seeds being sown. I have talked with so many people many fallen away Catholics and many searching people. I thought of how some seed fell on rocky ground like the camino and some fell on fertile ground like the fields of wine or olives.The most difficult are the seeds that fell of thorny ground, where the care of the world have choked off the life of seed. I pray that some seed may still be saved by pruning and pushing the seeds into fertile soil. Through the truth, the beauty and the good of the Church new life may grow.
Iam now in my seventh day and more and more you can feel the journey to heaven. The way is full from people from every nation from Korea to turkey. The call is for people to find there way to God. They speak of the spiritual path or the calling to make the journey but is that not God calling to us all to come to seek him. I have found people who have lost their faith others seeking something. Today I talked to a women who lost her faith and found me on an lonely path for more than two hours. Was it not God who placed us on the path? I can see the hand of God ever present in this pilgrimage calling to his people. A people lost like sheep without a shepherd.
It was difficult the first day. Like the spiritual life the first are the hardest. Sometimes the path seems impossible but if we keep going we are rewarded with great gifts. It rained hard the first day and as we crossed the border into Spain it seemed as if you are walking in to heaven nothing but clouds and site was only 30 feet.
I begin tomorrow at 7am up the hill. The first part is the most difficult like all conversion it is difficult to begin until we give ourselves completely to God. The way is 500 miles but it most begin with one step at a time. Buen camino!!
I am leaving tomorrow for the way of saint James. I am finishing up those last minute things. Please continue to pray