Tag Archives: El Camino Pilgrimage

Now the Journey Begins

IMG_6178.JPGEvery day, and every step of the way, was meaningful for me. But con-celebrating at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, that was a very exciting day. And to top it off, the travel agency booked a very fancy restaurant for our dinner. The hotel/restaurant was actually a hospital/embassy when it was built 500 years ago. It has now been transformed into a very modern and upscale hotel and restaurant. During our supper, we shared how very happy we all were, and how satisfied we felt having accomplished a treacherous and seemingly impossible task.

During the last 5 days of walking El Camino, we all struggled. Especially with the heavy rain fall and having to walk on wet and muddy terrain. Though we gradually slowed down each day, the inclement weather and the physical limitations holding us back, we all did very well. We all finished our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

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Now that our journey has come to an end, our journey into the world continues.

Starting is always easy, anybody can do that. But sticking to our goal despite our struggles and failures, herein lie the most difficult challenges.DSCF2520
After having failed 10,000 experiments, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Success does not mean no failure; success means perseverance and not giving up.

Despite many falls, Jesus continued His journey to the end. God’s grace will always accompany us wherever we go, and all the way to the end.

Like the poem, Footprints in the Sand, it is especially in our times of trial that we do not journey alone.  God journeys with us.  He carries us through the hills and the valleys until we are able to walk on our own.

God has done that.  And He will continue to do just that. Because…we are His.

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I hope that you have enjoyed reading my Reflections, And I will see you when I get back!

God Bless.

Stones In Your Path

We all bring something with us to the Camino that we intend to leave behind before leaving El Camino. It might be something we do not like about ourselves or something that we might be struggling with, perhaps a bad habit or an addiction of some sort. Hence, the tradition of pilgrims carrying a stone they have picked up during the Camino in order to leave it behind either along the path, on one of the markers, or upon completing the journey to Santiago de Compostela. This leaving behind of the stone symbolizes the leaving behind of the old-self.

DSCF2571Just as the caterpillar goes through a complete metamorphosis by becoming a butterfly with beautiful wings designed to fly, so do some pilgrims experience similar kinds of transformations. During the Camino I have seen many markers where pilgrims have left behind stones, flowers, notes, etc., but one object that caught my attention was a cigarette pack. One can easily infer that the pilgrim must have been struggling with wanting to quit smoking and had eventually found the courage and determination, coupled of course with God’s grace, to overcome his or her addiction to cigarettes.

Of course, not every pilgrim experiences transformation to the same degree. But you do hear countless accounts of people’s hearts and lives touched by God during El Camino, prompting them to change the direction of their lives. IMG_6159Understanding how much God loves us becomes a redeeming moment for pilgrims – recognizing that God suffered for us out of love not only makes us become aware of the fact that we are loved by God, but it gives meaning and reason for our present sufferings and crosses in life.

Realizing God’s love is transformative!

Seeing so many crosses that practically cover the entire length of the fence that separates the airport from the Camino path is a testament to that.

Just as my leg was cramping up and I was getting tired during today’s Camino, I spotted a stone in the shape of a heart. That stone reminded me that God’s love is unchanging and everlasting.

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We don’t need to impress God to make Him love us. He already does. His love for us isn’t dependent on us or what we do. Sometimes I forget that, and God needed to put that stone in my path to remind me!