My wife and her best friend walked the Camino de Santiago – the Way of St. James – during graduate school. To this day, they lovingly call each other “pilgrim.” The title is imbued with affection, a signifier of a deep physical and spiritual sharing. But, it is more than that.
Pilgrims who walk the camino describe their reliance on others as transformative. A self-emptying is involved; a death to anything but what God provides. St. Ignatius calls this “indifference.” St. Paul calls it “carrying about in the body of a dying Jesus”.
To be a pilgrim is to embrace our full humanity. It is a journey toward dependence on God and community, a journey toward self-awareness of our human holiness. When we read that “we hold this treasure in earthen vessels,” Christ is the treasure and we are the vessels. Be a pilgrim; embrace him.
In what aspect of your life do you resist letting go and embracing Jesus? With whom will you share this?
—Mark Bartholet is the Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation at St. Peter Catholic Church, a Jesuit-staffed parish in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also a graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.