Pilgrimage– Admirable remedy for over fastidiousness and sickly refinement
Man is a spiritual and a physical being. He was given an intellect, a free will and a broad spectrum of spiritual experiences. Man carries in himself a profound longing for self-realization. He continuously seeks this realization and what he is searching for can be explained in this manner: Man is a being who longs for peace. That is why, one can say, without a doubt, that a person’s home is where he finds ‘his peace’. The search for peace is the main motive of every human activity, and that, for his entire life.
People go on pilgrimage in the hope of finding something that this world, with all its pleasures and skills, cannot provide. The heart is ever restless and searching, ever ‘on pilgrimage’ until it finds the God who makes sense of all things and who answers all the cravings of the human spirit. We go on pilgrimage in the hope of finding or preserving this gift of peace within us.
According to the Bible, man stands between the recollection of life in Paradise and the internal need for eternal peace, promised already on earth, but only revealed in the Eternal Kingdom of God, the kingdom of peace, justice and truth. Shrines or approved places of apparitions are like stations or stopping places on the pilgrimage of life. What makes them holy, is above all the prayer and penance, the reconciliation and conversion of a countless number of pilgrims. The reason is that journeying to a holy place brings the pilgrim hope of a deeper encounter with the living God and new hope and energy for the onward journey. Just as a person who is ill goes to a hospital or clinic hoping for a cure, pilgrims journey to a shrine in the hope of being relieved of the consequences of sin and of deepening or regaining divine friendship and spiritual health.
In other words, on the one hand, man comes to the place of pilgrimage with his wishes, but burdened with his difficulties and his sins and their consequences. That is why it is necessary to make it possible for him to remember to see everything in the light of God’s love and mercy and to experience the truth of Jesus’ words calling all those who labor and are burdened to come to Him, so that He can give them rest and peace.
This is what motivates a person to abandon his everyday life and to turn towards such places. God first offers man His presence with the intention that, in his search for this loving presence, he will find Him. In the experience of this loving presence, Man will empirically experience liberation from the burdens, which accumulated on his earthly pilgrimage as a result of his own weakness and sinfulness, as well as the sins of the others. After one has experienced the liberation from the burden of one’s sins and their consequences, one should follow the experience of peace, joy, love, hope and trust and should accept the presence of the Lord in one’s life.