Pilgrimpace's Blog

October 4, 2017, 10:30 am
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From my journal for October 3rd, 2009 – in the midst of walking the Camino de Levante:

Zamora is a romanesque gem.  Sitting at a restaurant in the Plaza Mayor, eating a slightly unexpected but very tasty fish kebab.

Where to go for Mass?  Followed people into the Clarisses Church.  Exposition, Rosary, then Mass.  The old priest moved to tears in the sermon.  About 15 sisters, several in their twenties or thirties.  After the sermon, the Transitus, to mark the death of Francis.  The Third Order laid candles around a habit on the floor during a litany.

Walked back towards my hostal with the priest.  He had a detailed knowledge of the beggars and which I should give money to.

Need to reflect about the Incarnation and what the pilgrimage teaches about it.  All being material for prayer, stripped back.


May 27, 2017, 8:54 pm
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It’s been a very full time recently – mainly good. I hesitate to post lists of what I am doing, but a great sabbath day of refreshment walking in Shropshire with Mike yesterday


​and today to Glasshampton Monastery leading a Quiet Day with the wonderful Franciscan Companions. Special in so many ways.

I prayed in front of this icon as I prepared for Mass. Just right for Ascension and Whitsun

June 19, 2016, 8:41 am
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We become what we love

and who we love

shaped what we become

– St Clare of Assisi


One of the highlights of the time in Italy was a day’s pilgrimage to Assisi.

On a hot morning, we found a car park outside the city and followed a stream of pilgrims walking up a dusty road through the countryside.  We climbed some steps and were next to the Walls.  Our journey took us first to Saint Claire’s Basilica.



One of the most moving parts of this was spending some time praying in front of the San Damiano Crucifix, the Icon, originally the ruined Chapel of San Damiano, through which Christ commanded Francis to “Repair my Church for it is falling down”.


In amongst the bustle and busyness of one of the big pilgrim destinations, it can be difficult to get a purchase on things.  As we walked through the town we passed The Pilgrim’s Oratory.  This was built in 1457 as the Chapel of a Pilgrim Hostel by the Confraternities of St Antony Abbot and St James of Compostella.


It is now in the care of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi as a place for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  We found this a beautiful and necessary place to pray quietly.

Walking to the other end of the Assisi, we reached the Basilica of St Francis.


We entered the lower Church first (to the bottom left of the picture).  On the darkness here we journeyed to the Tomb of Francis.  Among the relics which are on display is his tunic, speaking so much of the utter poverty of his life and way.


Then the Upper Church with its light and the frescoes telling the story of Francis’ life.

picture from Wikipedia Commons

picture from Wikipedia Commons

Fresco by Giotto, from Wikipedia Commons

Fresco by Giotto, from Wikipedia Commons

There was still much to see, but this was enough for a day, enough to spend time pondering, reflecting, feeding on.  We had not originally planned to go to Italy, but – as so often with St Francis – I find myself being drawn close to him, his family, his way, without seeking it.

lenten journey – fourteen

I’ve been away on retreat for the past week at Glasshampton Monastery, giving me a much needed space for prayer and reflection in the build up to Holy Week and Easter.  Thanks to Br Nicholas Alan, I’ve discovered the sixteenth century Spanish Franciscan mystical writers Francisco de Osuna and Bernardino de Laredo who in many ways paved the way for Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.  I’ve been slowly reading and praying Osuna’s Third Spiritual Alphabetwith it’s teaching on the prayer of recollection.  Maybe some quotes from this once I’ve pondered and read more.

In the meantime, this from Jean Vanier:

In L’Arche and in Faith and Light, we are beginning to see the truth of St Paul’s words about the choice of God – that God chooses the weak, the foolish, the lowly and the despised.  This does not mean that God has not chosen others who are wise and strong.  It means that Jesus, the God of love, came to give himself to those who feel lonely and pushed aside, and who cry out for love, who are open and vulnerable to love, who let themselves be led by love.  Jesus cannot give himself to those who are closed in on themselves and only want ideas about God.  The wise and rich must leave their securities, and their need for temporal and spiritual power and wealth, in order to discover Jesus, the lover.  They must recognise their needs and poverty enough to open the doors of their hearts to receive him, to be led and taught by him.


a franciscan christmas blessing
December 23, 2010, 12:45 pm
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May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths ,and superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with
enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.