At the moment I am preparing for my various summer journeys, of which there are a few. I always find the process of travelling quite a spiritual experience, perhaps a reminder of our pilgrim way through life. I feel that every journey has a spiritual element to it and there is an element of growth and renewal in leaving behind what you know and going towards the unfamiliar, even just for a few days. There is so much of this beautiful world to experience but, thanks to mankind, not all of it always seems particularly beautiful. Nevertheless, where there is life there is surely goodness and hope to be found. I am not, of course, speaking of external beauty - but true beauty- the beauty of the soul, which often has an external appearance which suggests the opposite to superficial beauty.
My first journey this summer is to a friend's wedding- one ceremony is in the north of England and the other in Holland because her future husband is Dutch (I am leaving for Holland next Friday while the English festivities are early next week). It seems strange to be seeing another dear friend embark upon the vocation of marriage. The more of these ceremonies I go to (and they are rather frequent these days) the more moved I become by the incredible beauty of an institution of such trust in another person, such willingness to accept another with all their faults and failings. In an increasingly cynical world it also seems very brave to do so, when the statistics and culture seem to be persuading against. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see friends who I have grown up with happy in their lives. Although this is a friend from university, I still feel that, to some extent, we were children when we met. Of course marriages also contain a certain aspect of sadness because they are farewell to an aspect of that particular friends life - however, this sadness is far outweighed by the joy and promise of the life to come.
I am praying that the journeys I make this summer, that the journeys all make this summer, will be fruitful - that they will teach me, help me to grow and help me on my own pilgrimage - the pilgrimage of life.
I am reading a book about Dominican spirituality at the moment - just because I like to find out about different orders and understand them better. Tonight I read this quotation from Meister Eckhart
'God is always ready, but we are unready. God is near us, but we are from from him'
I pray that the journeys of life may make us ready (whether these journeys be literal or metaphorical)
I pray that that the journeys of life may allow us to draw near to Him.
Wherever I travel you are all truly in my prayers.