Guests of the world


piligrimage

The Celtic saints of earlier centuries made much of the idea of peregrinatio, a difficult-to-translate word that suggests an open-ended journey.

It was not uncommon for medieval Irish monks to set out with no destination; they left with only the simple impulse to go and seek, guided by the Holy Spirit. Unlike the pilgrimages to shrines common to medieval lore, writes Esther de Waal, “there [was] no specific end or goal such as that of reaching a…holy place that allows the pilgrim at the end of the journey to return home with a sense of mission accomplished.”

Rather the idea was to learn to live as travelers, pilgrims, “guests of the world,” as sixth-century Irishman Saint Columbanus put it. There was to be a creative openness, even if that meant living in a kind of exile so as not to hold too tightly to one’s ambitions and spiritual itinerary.

The idea was to leave behind the known and safe to find a truer basis for security. This was a largely inner journey.

Timothy Jones: A Place for God

~ by blueporch on July 23, 2011.

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