Travel the Camino to Santiago ?
Richard W. Tripp, Jr.
undertaking a journey such as traveling the Camino de
Santiago, a person should understand why they are doing
it. When filling out the application for the credentials
of a pilgrim, there are blocks to check, indicating
why the applicant is going to Santiago. The choices
are: Spiritual, Cultural and Sporting. One can check
more than one.
pilgrims made the trip primarily for spiritual reasons,
but there were others. Some went to fulfill a promise
made in a prayer of supplication. Many went to seek
a favor from God, often a cure, through the power of
St. James. In some cases, persons were sentenced to
undergo the hardships of the pilgrimage as penance for
a crime or a wrong that a person had done. Implicit
in such a sentence was the hope that the person would
repent and become a better person. Some went on voluntary
penances, seeking forgiveness from God for a wrong they
had done by demonstrating faith and their willingness
to undergo the hardships involved in making the pilgrimage.
are many reasons for a modern person to undertake the
Camino de Santiago. Many will benefit from the journey
even if they are reluctant to consider themselves as
a pilgrim because they do not feel their reasons are
sufficiently spiritual to fit into their concept of
contemporary person can undertake the journey for many
of the same reasons that a medieval pilgrim did. In
addition, there are reasons that some people would not
consider spiritual in the sense of religion but in terms
of their inner selves, their inner search for answers,
for a meaning to their life. More than a few people
make the trip during or following a crisis in their
life, seeking answers.
a Protestant raised in the United States, it provides
an opportunity to gain a better understanding of their
own beliefs by looking at aspects of religion over the
centuries. The pilgrimage to Santiago was an important
part of medieval religious life and its history is part
of the history of Christianity. The churches along the
Camino are centuries old, some over a thousand, and
have been in use for most of that time, although some
are no longer in use. They have been altered over the
years but what is there provides a glimpse into changing
beliefs, values and the role of the church in daily
life. US churches are predominately Protestant, and
with few exceptions were built after the 17th Century.
Most of the churches seen on the Camino were built prior
to Columbus’s discovery of the New World.
people think of Culture in terms of the fine arts but
the broader meaning of the word includes history, literature,
and aspects of everyday life of a group of people who
are different from yourself. The camino traverses many
parts of Spain, as well as other countries, France and
Portugal predominately. The culture in all of these
is different. Even within Spain there are vast differences
between regions such as the Basque country, Castile-León,
and Galicia. A traveler on the Camino sees the towns,
villages and countryside at close hand and a slow pace.
They will note the mixing of cultural influences, both
from the Moors and from other European countries.
Iberian Peninsular now consisting of Spain and Portugal,
was at one time under one king and was once many small
kingdoms. The Camino passes through many of the former
seats of government and one can visit the tombs of kings.
There is constant evidence of the Religious and Military
Orders that helped to throw out the Moors and to protect
and provide succor to the pilgrims and others. And last
but certainly not least, there is the opportunity to
sample the gastronomy of the various regions through
which you will pass.
the camino is a physical challenge, whether by horse,
bicycle or on foot. It is a lot of exercise in fresh
air and will provide a healthy change of pace to anyone.
important reason other than the three listed on the
credentials application is touristic; those things for
which people travel to other locations. All pilgrims
are also tourists. Tales of pilgrims to various sites
over the centuries indicate much behavior in common
with other tourists. The travel will broaden your horizons
considerably. You will meet people from very different
backgrounds, try new foods and see new things. There
are sights and sounds of the cities, towns, villages
and also the farms, countryside and forests.
in the spiritual reasons to go on the camino but worthy
of mentioning separately is the psychological benefit
of the opportunity to spend time in an atmosphere free
from mental stress, where one can reflect on life and
on the Camino involves all of the above.
are intertwined and unavoidable. A person who starts
out for sportive reasons cannot avoid the cultural and
spiritual aspects. Those who go for cultural reasons
will complete the journey in better physical condition
having grown spiritually. Do not fear that you may change
your religion but expect that your faith will grow stronger.
Those who do not set forth thinking of themselves as
one arrive in Santiago feeling like a pilgrim.
à Q.Pratique Avant
at wanadoo.fr - 25/03/2018