Advent is a time of pilgrimaging with the Holy Family as they journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem and then, after the Magi, fled to Egypt for asylum.
Pilgrimages are Sacred journeys to Sacred places. When we usually think of doing a pilgrimage, we consider it as a trip somewhere else. There are many common pilgrimages, the Camino de Santiago is the most common for those of us who are Christian, Mecca for our Islamic brothers and sisters, Western Wall of the Temple Mount for our Jewish brothers and sisters.
However, pilgrimages can happen right where you are. They are intentional journeys that we walk. We walk them in prayer.
In New Mexico, each Holy Week people pilgrimage to El Sanctuario de Chimayo along the ‘high road.’ It is a pilgrimage of faith seeking healing. El Sanctuario de Chimayo is a sacred site of healing in New Mexico. People journey there every year prayerfully seeking healing.
Pilgrimages require faith.
Joseph left Nazareth with Mary, very pregnant, and began a journey to Bethlehem for the census. Joseph and Mary went in faith on this journey: faith that God would guide them to their destination in safety, faith that Mary would arrive in Bethlehem before giving birth, faith that there would be a place to stay in Bethlehem once they arrived. Their journey was one of faith.
It is the same as they left Bethlehem at God’s instruction and fled to Egypt. They pilgrimaged in faith: faith that God would keep them safe as they walked, faith that the Egyptians would welcome them in, faith that this journey would keep the Christ child safe from harm.
We step out into pilgrimage with faith. We walk in prayer. That prayer deepens as we walk. It opens our hearts, it widens our tents, it transforms our inner and outer world as we walk.
Pilgrimage is an intentional prayer-filled walk.
You can take it stepping outside your house with a prayer on your heart during Advent. You can set the Intention that each walk is in companionship with the Holy Family as they journeyed to Bethlehem and Egypt. Then walk.
Walk and allow your heart to bring forth your prayer.
Walk and allow your prayer to transform your heart.
Walk and listen for the Sacred’s invitation.
Walk and lean into God’s call for Justice.
God will provide the destination, deep in the Center of your heart.