Sometimes we take few steps to the left, sometimes few steps to the right, other times we make few steps back, but when we go on a pilgrimage we are walking toward God. We go to God, not perfect, but as we are with all of our doubts, crisis, sickness, curiosity, adventure, faith, thanksgiving, to ask for favours and to offer ourselves completely. The route is towards God. As you head on your journey, the spiritual part is a more important than the physical hotels, walks, buses, food, etc. In many ways, it is expected that the detachment of the physical comforts and joys will at times help your spiritual progress that is if you let it. It's in the opening of your eyes, heart and the Word of God that you find your journey progresses. Sometimes the steps are not easy, but each step counts. The steps that lead you from the person you were to the person growing consciousness, and deeper sensitivity to God's view point. There is a path in front of each one of us. Let us move forward with and towards Jesus.
A Pilgrimage differs from a tour in several important ways. It is a personal invitation from God comprised of His offer and dependent upon the pilgrim's acceptance. God's call may vary but the purpose remains consistent: It is an individual summons to know God more fully. A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey to which the pilgrim joyfully responds "yes" to God's invitation. Although in previous centuries many trials were intrinsic to a pilgrimage, the modern pilgrim has an abundance of affordable travel options, yet the purpose remains unchanged. It is a journey to a holy, sacred place to usher the pilgrim into the presence of God. The pilgrim must embark on this journey with joyful anticipation, willingness to separate him or herself from the world and to offer him or herself in humble service to one another. A successful pilgrimage involves a commitment to leave behind one's problems and to learn more about our heavenly Father. Also, a pilgrimage involves making one's heart full of desire for special graces, praises, petitions, thanksgiving, returning home transformed, renewed and restored by the abundant blessings received. A pilgrimage is a time of prayer and to witness the miraculous signposts God has left for our return to Him. Ask God to bless you with a heart that will be receptive to the treasure chest of graces He desires to shower upon your pilgrimage. The success of your spiritual journey will depend upon your openness, faith, flexibility, and love. Pilgrimages journeys to sacred places -are as old as civilization. Since the earliest times, such journeys have been made as acts of devotion, penance, or thanksgiving or in search of blessings or miracles. The concept crosses all ideological boundaries. In the ancient Near East, a portion of the harvest was carried to shrines to be offered to the gods in gratitude and homage. Muslim law prescribes a pilgrimage to Mecca, the birth place of Mohammed, for all who are able to undertake the journey. For Hindus, a pilgrimage to Varansi (Banares), to bathe in the sacred waters of Ganges, is considered an obligation. Christian pilgrims, from early in the second century, traveled great distances to venerate places in the Holy Land sanctified by the presence of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or the Apostles. The number of pilgrimages increased greatly in the fourth century, after Emperor Constantine 1 converted to Christianity and legalized the faith throughout the Roman Empire. He and his mother, Helena, were themselves the most influential of pilgrims. The historian Eusebius of Caesarea attributed to Constantine the discovery of Christ’s tomb, the Holy Sepulcher; other accounts credit his mother with finding the True Cross.
According to Shareworld Travels, the Leading Pilgrimage Travel Agency in Ghana, there are many common reasons: Increase of Faith, Practice Prayer, Practice Fasting, Learn to Let Go and how to give our problem to God, Pray for Healing, Hear what the Holy Spirit may say, In thankfulness, In Joy and Rejoicing, To Pray for others, To Visit Holy Places, Experience diverse cultures, To escort a family member or a loved one, to travel with their prayer group/church/youth group/leader, and/or for Unity so we can be with people like ourselves. Often we go on a pilgrimage when seeking change, and often, change takes place. Pilgrimage means focusing on an intention, focusing on a desire, or focusing on resolution of a situation. A Pilgrim goes because he hears "the calling" - They come back to give peace a chance, and not let the jerks of the world get the best of them. He goes seeking to find peace with their loved one, or for peace in the world. Upon their return they discover, that in order to find peace with another human, they must first find it with God and in their own heart!
"The World is A Book -Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" St. Augustine One of the greatest persons of our time was Mother Theresa. Her physical strength and size, knowledge of languages, geography or finances never stopped her. She faced her fears and helped humanity in the name of Jesus. She did not do it in her village. She did not offer help to Only * those that were Catholic. She helped humans who were in pain of all forms and backgrounds. Living on earth is expensive; make it a great and rewarding one. Mother Theresa believed, prayed and lived the message of Christ. And she also believed that if you love Christ you must look at each and every human being as Jesus in disguise. You cannot come to know Jesus and God unless you love all of his people. That is so hard to absorb for so many. Her explanation and message reach out to another human being and do it "one at a time" or "one by one" So simple! Many of us want to save the world, and make peace in the world, but cannot help or forgive our loved one or even worse we cannot forgive ourselves. I'm sure she meant "one by one" starting with yourself. One kind word, one step, one meal for a sick person down the block, one prayer for a sick child. As an AT&T slogan said: "reach out and touch someone" as by touching them you will feel the rewards and joy within your heart that you've never felt before.
There are so many people doing extraordinary things. As Mother Theresa said: "Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting, with a smile, what Jesus sends us." St.Theresa of The Child Jesus also shocked the world with her LITTLLE FLOWERS. I pray that one day you book a pilgrimage. Invite your family and friends to separate themselves from the "every day rut". You'll come back refreshed and with more peace in your heart. When you return, perhaps you can plan another pilgrimage, but the next time you invite more people to join you and share with them what you have learned yourself. In doing so, you will help others, you will acquire the knowledge and you will be making some great friends from different parts of the world. Typically what happens the first time someone goes abroad, they start off by complaining to their tour leader and spiritual director about how there was no butter served with bread, how they miss their home, that is until they really put themselves into being in where they are with their heart instead of only physically. It takes a while, but the next time they go, they know the purpose of going is to find new way of looking at things, new peace and new friendships, not what they have left at home.