July is often a time for drawing things to a close and moving on – it may be from one school to another, university to work (if you’re lucky!) or even new houses or new countries.
Whatever the ‘pilgrimage’ in our own lives, one thing we certainly need is the gift of wisdom, so that we can travel the path set out for us with a certain integrity and surety. That is not to say that everything will be clear-cut and that we will not sometimes travel into a cul-de-sac, but the advice and the guidance of others on a journey is essential – those who have trodden the path ahead of us serve as a guide for our own journeying.
On 25 July we keep the feast of Saint James, the Apostle – a saint linked to this idea of journeying to the great pilgrimage destination in northern Spain of Compostela Those who walk the ‘camino’ or way leading to Compostela tell tales of how it profoundly changes their outlook on others – and also their understanding of themselves. They are put into a position where the pilgrimage and the friendships (and hardships) endured throw together people from very different backgrounds and personalities united by one common aim – and who will do all they can to assist and make easier the journey for their fellow travellers.
If you are looking for a little summer reading, you may want to look for ‘ To the Field of Stars’ by Kevin A Codd – the story of a priest’s journey to the Shrine of Saint James which he undertook as part of a sabbatical.
Of course, we are often referred to as a ‘pilgrim Church on earth’ – and ideally out of the diversity of our backgrounds and personalities comes a unity and a common purpose: to do all we can to help each other in the search for God’s will and purpose in our lives.
Wherever you are journeying over these next weeks, I hope you travel in safety and find rest and refreshment – in whatever form that is needed!