The Village of St Bernadette: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

"There was everything hostile to my peace---an incalculable crowd, an oppressive heat, dust, noise, weariness; there was the disappointment of the churches and the image; there was the sour unfamiliarity of the place and the experience; and yet I was neither troubled nor depressed nor irritated nor disappointed. . . . To leave Lourdes at the end was like leaving home."Msgr Robert Hugh Benson, a convert from Anglicanism, wrote these words in his memoir of a visit to Lourdes in 1908. I … [Read more...]

Climb Ev’ry Mountain: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

An hour in the Pyrenees, and you suddenly understand the deep ties between geography and belief. And you get a clue about why we're always fighting over territory. Gerald O'Hara was partly right: "It's land, Katie Scarlett! . . . Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts." Of course it doesn't, really. But since Eden was foreclosed on, that's the story we tell ourselves.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 8: … [Read more...]

Bilocation, Chocolate, and the Patron Saint of Pilgrims: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

Pilgrim Pop Quiz: What's the oldest Christian pilgrimage shrine in Europe? Hint: It's associated with St James (Santiago, as they call him in Spain), but it's not the one from that movie with Charlie Sheen's dad. It's in Zaragoza, where the ancient and the thoroughly post-modern meet for tapas, and neither one blinks.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 7: Madrid to ZaragozaWhen you say Spain, Santiago, and pilgrimage, everybody thinks Compostela, the purported resting place of St James the Greater, who … [Read more...]

Picturing the Destination: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

 On the walls of a museum, we come face-to-face with two views of life. Both have the power to shake us to our roots. Both look like madness. And both are roadmaps of the human journey. But only one is true, and you can tell it by the tears.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 6: Madrid[A note to the patient pilgrims: After wrestling with jetlag and some personal baggage---not the kind subject to customs inspections, but carried with me on the pilgrimage no less, and seriously over the … [Read more...]

The Road It Gives and the Road It Takes Away: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

Not every encounter on the pilgrim path is with Christ and his saints. Not every experience is a mystical insight. Not everything you learn has spiritual significance. But it's all part of the road.It's worth taking a breather to note some of the things we've learned and experienced and encountered on this pilgrimage. They weren't necessarily on the agenda, but they'll stay with us at least as long as the dates of the Spanish Reconquest or the number of dining rooms in the Royal Palace of … [Read more...]

Castles in Spain: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

To build castles in Spain is an 800-year-old idiom meaning to daydream, to indulge in idle fancies. But we spent a day with Teresa of Avila, who built an interior castle in Spain as solid and lasting a fortification as the walls that circle the city of her birth.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 5: Salamanca to Madrid, via Alba de Tormes, Avila, and SegoviaSpain's an odd place. It looks golden and sunny, with yellow plains stretching out under bright blue skies as far as the eye can see, but the soul … [Read more...]

Finding the Frog: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

In which we learn that pilgrimage cultivates a different way of seeing: We come to honor visionaries, and are expected to come away visionaries ourselves.Pilgrimage 2012, Day 4: Fatima to Salamanca, Spain, by way of Coimbra, PortugalI've gotten behind in posting, due to a combination of the exhaustion that accompanies cramming so many powerful experiences into each day and the instability of network connections. The downside is that you're probably wondering whether, like that Italian … [Read more...]

The Peace of the World: Egregious Twaddle on Pilgrimage

"Tell everybody that God gives His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell them to ask graces from her, . . . for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to her." ~ A message from the Lady of Fatima, according to Lucia Pilgrimage 2012, Day 3: FatimaWe pilgrims spent yesterday in Fatima. In the early morning, a tour of the Sanctuary, the huge devotional complex that encompasses the Chapel of the Apparitions on the site where the Lady most often appeared to the three … [Read more...]


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