Saturday, February 14, 2015


It's time to dust off your copy of Pilgrim Road: A Benedictine Journey Through Lent. This year there is a revised edition containing more materials for weekly group discussions and a Q &A interview with the author. (The chapters and their reflection questions are the same as in the first edition, except that there's a new chapter for Holy Saturday, and the Holy Saturday chapter is now on Easter Sunday.) I'm not sure exactly what genre of literature the book fits into. Maybe "spiritual travelogue," or "devotional escape literature."

Something that could be really exciting and innovative is this: The publisher said that they were going to host a Facebook page for people who would like some company on their lenten pilgrimage but can't get to group meetings. The full facebook address is
blog:, but you can go to Facebook and search for "Pilgrim Road." Since I'm not on Facebook, I'm just trusting that the page is up and running. I think it sounds like a great idea, and I hope that if you're on Facebook you'll take a look at it and maybe "like" it and tell everybody else about it too. Is this another new genre: the "e-pilgrimage?"

Morehouse Publishing has even put out a Lenten Poster based on Pilgrim Road that they sell in packets of 30 for pastors to give to their congregations.

Okay that's enough marketing for one post!


I'm getting all psyched up for my lenten pilgrimage, and plan to join all the folks who will be using Pilgrim Road again this year. Here are a few thoughts for the road.

Journey to Perfection? What is the goal of a spiritual pilgrimage? There are lots of good answers, I
suppose. But for anyone who may think that it's got something to do with achieving perfection, here's a quote from Fr. Michael Casey, OCSO that I found interesting:

There is little about perfection in the Rule of Benedict. As experience teaches, monastic life is not a fast track to perfection; it is more like a process by which we learn to live with manifold imperfection."

Maybe that's not such a bad goal for a lenten pilgrim: to "learn how to live with our manifold imperfection."

Thinking about Conversion? The New American Bible has this footnote at Mk 1:25-45 (a description of a single busy day at the start of Jesus' ministry):
"Mention s not made of the content of [Jesus'] teaching but of the effect of astonishment and alarm on the people. Jesus' teaching with authority , making an absolute claim on the hearer, was in the best tradition of the ancient prophets, not of the scribes."

I can go on the Lenten pilgrimage prepared to discuss conversion and read about conversion and think about conversion for forty days. I can join the scribes in reflecting on the meaning of God's call to conversion. But the real journey to conversion is walked not in company with the scribes but with the prophets and with Jesus who "teaches with authority, making an absolute claim" on me. When Jesus comes up beside me on the pilgrim journey and turns to look at me, his gaze makes an absolute demand on me. It's not a quiet invitation but a radical demand as powerful as the one he spoke to the evil spirits.

So, let's pray for one another that this lenten journey will indeed be a time for encountering the prophet from Galilee who challenges us to walk the road to conversion that leads to Calvary and then continues to the glory of the empty tomb. Bon voyage!

1 comment:

  1. Just ordered a copy of the up-dated version for myself and another to give as a gift.