Carpe diem: seize the day. If you ever watched The Dead Poets Society (classic!) way-back-when, you know that one.
Carpe diem is about making the most of a situation. Creating opportunities. Living life with gusto. Taking a stand or doing something else worthwhile, even if we’re afraid to do it.
Timing is everything, and some things are worth waiting for: the right spouse, the right moment, YOU.
I’m a big fan of delaying gratification when the situation calls for it.
But delaying gratification is not the same thing as going on autopilot while opportunities slip by, until the chance of living an amazing life is gone. You have to seize the day.
Pilgrimage is usually going to be one of those amazing opportunities you have to make.
Sometimes pilgrimage feels inevitable—maybe when you’re coming back from war or some other hard season that calls you to it. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who just always knew you were meant to make a certain journey.
I think most of us have to choose.
In the Middle Ages, pilgrimage was a more common thing. The church encouraged people to visit shrines and other holy places—maybe promising them forgiveness of sins or merit or some long-awaited healing. Even pagan holy places could become Christian shrines, as with many of the old holy wells.
Hindus and Muslims and many other faiths also have strong traditions of pilgrimage.
Modern pilgrimage in Western places that are more secular and further from an imaginative past dominated by the Catholic church … that’s far less common. Add to it that many of us have a hard time even managing a real vacation, and it becomes clear we will need to create opportunities to do an out of the ordinary thing like pilgrimage.
Here are 3 good reasons to make that effort:
As I look back at the past year or so, I am so glad that in 2019 we picked a time to set out for 6 weeks and make the rest of life work around it. Once covid hit, it wouldn’t have been possible to travel to those places so freely. It was our last bit of normal-but-special before the world imploded.
And we couldn’t know a pandemic would happen so soon after. But that’s just it: You never know what tomorrow will bring.
So live well today. Go to the places you want to see. Try new things. Journey toward God. Make that pilgrimage. Tell the people you care about that you love them.
Rocamadour looks a lot like Gondor & even has a legendary sword, Durendal.Its medieval Chemin de Croix winds upward off a longer path connected to Les Eyzies or a branch of the Camino...
When going apart is part of community... Sometimes going off alone serves the community you love. Who’s done it & why does this kind of pilgrimage matter?