This piece is all about the spiritual preparation that we are undertaking for the Camino. It’s 20 days before we depart, and 26 days before we step on the Camino.
We are approaching this Camino as a pilgrimage. I wasn’t satisfied with the various dictionaries’ definitions of ‘pilgrimage’. Let me put forward an expansive personal definition, as follows. It’s a journey undertaken for spiritual reasons. A pilgrimage is expressly for one’s soul. People, places and events will play an important role in shaping the pilgrim’s experience, but it is the heart and soul encounters that will shape the pilgrim’s spiritual self.
Our approach is also intentional. Ask and it will be given you; Search and you will find; Knock and the door will open for you.
Given this perspective, I undertook several spiritual preparation steps:
- Step up my spiritual & Bible readings
- Self-correct my un-Christian attitudes & behaviors
- Increase the depth of my prayers
- Ponder, contemplate Biblical verses that spoke to me
- Prepare for ‘on the Camino’ – spiritual intent, prayers, verses
- Install some Christian songs on my smartphone, to place us in a spiritually contemplative state
Just as I am conditioning my body to be in shape for the rigors of the Camino walk, I am conditioning my soul for this pilgrimage. Per the parable of the Sower, I am preparing the soil so that it will bear fruit when God’s words speak to me on the Camino.
I can net it out all the above efforts to this, that I am in a process to “Purify My Soul” so that it will be receptive to what God will reveal to me on the Camino.
“……He who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through His Spirit that dwells in you”. Romans 8:11
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes (for you) with sighs too deep for words”. Romans 8:26
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God”. Romans 8:14
Thus, this on-going, unceasing efforts to purify my soul, is to strive to be in a state of grace, a state that encourages the Holy Spirit that dwells in me, to intercede and guide me to be attentive to God’s presence and promptings.
Prior to stepping out on the Camino Portuguese from Porto, we will make a pilgrimage to Fatima. Let me frame Fatima. This is a spiritual event blessing that occurred in the 20th century, in 1917. God continues to reach out to us via Mother Mary, St. Joseph and Jesus.
Jean Wysocki recommended reading “Fatima in Lucia’s own words”. I was touched very deeply by this. It is the most moving read I had in recent times. Mother Mary’s words ‘challenges’ me to the core, the three children’s total acceptance and compliance is a blessing (example) to the rest of us. It awakens in me, the desire to do what Mother Mary has asked. It awakens in me the need to be more consistent with the Rosary. It stirs my soul.
What remains as the clock counts down to our departure are these:
- Getting the Pilgrim Blessing from our Parish Priest
- Drafting ‘some’ of the Camino’s intentional focus. To illustrate:
- Day 1 – Being at Peace, Being Present to Each Other, to Fellow Pilgrims/Neighbors
- Day 2 – Praise & Thanksgiving for the Blessings, the Pains/Hurts
- Day 3 – What am I Struggling With?
- Day x – Start the Weeding (preparation for confession in Santiago)
- Day x – Sharing Our Dreams
- Day x – Praying for God’s Intervention
- ….. and so on. It’s likely the list will change, as it’s not meant to box us in. But having a draft creates the ‘guard rails’ so that we can discuss and achieve our respective Camino intent. And some days may start as a blank canvass for the Good Lord to paint as He Wills.
- Compiling some prayers for the Camino walk. Not to pass the time or occupy our minds during a long boring stretch, but intentional prayers for our current life situations.
We do want to explicitly share that we do expect God to reach out to us, via our fellow pilgrims and neighbors that we meet on the Camino. We look forward to that fellowship, guided by the Holy Spirit.
The Peace of the Lord be with you.
- Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words. Kindle Version – https://tinyurl.com/y7omegjt
- 25 Basic Bible Studies. Paperback – https://tinyurl.com/yauqpbsy
- The New Oxford Annotated Bible, NRSV 2018 5th Edition – https://tinyurl.com/ya7vwvtn
- Sacred Story Rosary – An Ignatian Way to Pray the Mysteries – https://tinyurl.com/yc9emkwm