Monday, June 16, 2014

Be a Pilgrim, Not a Tourist

The Jesuits of the Australian Province put out a fortnightly update on all their comings and goings.  One of the recent editions had a wonderful little article on transitions and travel that seemed all too appropriate for the journeys we begin or complete in summer.

The link to the article can be found here. I've also pasted it below. It's by Father Chris Gleeson, SJ.

In transition
In early December last year, when returning from Auckland, I stopped at the Tullamarine airport’s duty-free shop to purchase some spiritual sustenance for my Xavier Jesuit community. After discerning what spirit was most appropriate for my abstemious brethren, I went to the counter to pay for it. The young lady in attendance there greeted me with the question: Are you in transition, sir?’ ‘Yes', was my reply. ‘Aren’t we all?’ 

The young woman seemed stunned. So full of surprise was her countenance that I was reminded of the story of the American tourist in the late 19th century who went to visit the famous Polish rabbi, Hofetz Chaim. He was astonished to see that the Rabbi’s dwelling was just a simple room with a desk and a chair. ‘Rabbi’, asked the tourist, ‘where is your furniture?’ ‘Where is yours?’ replied the rabbi. ‘Mine?’ asked the puzzled American. ‘But I am only a visitor here. I’m only passing through.’ To which the rabbi responded, ‘Aren’t we all?’

In March last year we were given a new pope in Francis, a leader who has captured the hearts of the world. ‘Person of the Year’, as voted by Time magazine, Francis in his leadership has modelled for us the importance of simplicity, of doing away with the superfluities and excesses of life, of engaging with people’s hearts before trying to win defensive battles over dogma and doctrine. He is simply a breath of fresh air, as Pope John XXIII was, blowing through our church and our world.

Transition comes with both gain and loss. In gaining the courageous leadership of Francis, we lost the inspiration of Nelson Mandela late last year. Our world is much poorer for this loss. Some fifteen years ago I devised a course on leadership for aspiring Year 11 student leaders, comparing the influence of two quite different men who had spent some time in prison— Pedro Arrupe and Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his becoming the General of the Jesuits in 1965, the charismatic Pedro Arrupe spent many years as a missionary in Japan, a month of which in 1942 he experienced as a prisoner in Yamaguchi for suspected espionage. He reflected later on this period in captivity: ‘Many were the things I learned during this time: the science of silence, of solitude, of severe and austere poverty, of inner dialogue with the "guest of my soul". I believe this was the most instructive month of my entire life.’

On his release, he comforted the prison governor with the words: ‘I am not resentful to you. You are someone who has done me good … You have taught me to suffer.’

It is well documented that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years or 10,000 days in the most brutal of prisons on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town. While the prison bars might have constrained him physically, nothing could impinge on Mandela’s spiritual freedom. In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, he wrote:

As a leader one must sometimes take actions that are unpopular, or whose results will not be known for years to come. There are victories whose glory lies only in the fact that they are known to those who win them. This is particularly true of prison, where you must find consolation in being true to your ideals, even if no one else knows of it.

That Nelson Mandela could walk out of gaol 27 years later, without a tinge of resentment or bitterness in his heart, is testament to his freedom of soul and the legacy of spiritual leadership he has bequeathed to the whole world.

I have often quoted from an article written by a parent at a French Jesuit school in 1975. The importance of his words remains with me today. In seeking to elucidate his expectations of a Jesuit school, he wrote:

One arrives at a fresh stage of life only by freeing oneself from the last; by a renunciation. The process of growth is a series of renunciations: renunciation of womb-life, of breast-feeding, of exclusive love of the mother; renunciation of the cushioned atmosphere of home in favour of the brisker one of school; renunciation of the self-satisfied comfort of intellectual sufficiency in favour of the adventurous one of the spirit. There can be no checks, no resting-places. Stop at any stage of the journey and you will find that you settle down, you make yourself a refuge.

Our personal transitions might not have the media focus of a Nelson Mandela or even a Pedro Arrupe, but they are significant times for us. Each time we come to the Eucharist at the Penitential Rite we declare our need for change and growth, for the Lord’s mercy and healing. If we don’t commit to this transition in ourselves, we will stultify and die.

The metaphor of the pilgrim, so much loved by St Ignatius Loyola himself, is a very helpful one for us journeymen and women in life. Somewhere in his prodigious writings, Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, Jonathan Sacks, distinguishes between the pilgrim and the tourist. Pilgrims are those people who want to engage with the world and not be mere spectators, people whose goal is less to reach a particular destination than to be transformed in the journey itself. A tourist goes somewhere to see something new, while a pilgrim goes somewhere to become someone new. Indeed, tourism protects tourists from becoming someone new by insulating them from the unfamiliar or the uncomfortable.

For one of the pithiest comments on the need for personal transition in our lives, we can return to the 19th century and the memorable words of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: ‘To grow is to change, and to become perfect is to have changed many times.’ May 2014 be a year of constructive transition for all of us!


Anonymous said...

Has God sent a prophet?
Be sure to read about the “Seal of the Living God” found on the homepage links - *a Biblical reference to this topic: Rev. chapter 7

Luxe Coach Purses said...

Burberry Factory, The North Face Outlet, Coach Outlet, Barbour Outlet, Abercrombie & Fitch Sale, Burberry Outlet, Chanel Outlet Online, Calvin Klein Clothes, Gucci Bags Outlet, Marc Jacobs Handbags, MCM Outlet, Gucci Shoes Outlet, Kate Spade Outlet, Louis Vuitton Outlet, Louis Vuitton Shoes Outlet, Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Store,Michael Kors Outlet Online,Moncler Clearance, North Face Jackets Clearance, North Clearace Outlet, Oakley Sunglaases Factory, Michael Kors Outlet, Prada Shoes Outlet, Polo Outlet Store, Polo Outlet Store, Ralph Lauren T Shirts, Longchamp Outlet, Coach Factory Outlet Online, Barbour Jackets Outlet Online, Beats By Dre Outlet, Ralph Lauren UK, Ugg Boots Outlet, Nike Jordan Shoes,Coach Store OnlineMoncler Jackets Outlet Online, Polo Outlet Online,Salvatore Ferragamo Outlet,Tommy Hilfiger Outlet,North Face Jackets Clearance,Ugg Boots Clearance,Tory Burch Handbag Outlet,Uggs Boots Outlet,Discount Ugg Boots

polo ralph lauren outlet said...

It's great that you're posing as the bag looks like a purse :) I have insanely low finissig humor!
jordan shoes
kate spade outlet
Toms Outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
uggs clearance sale outlet
cheap uggs boots
jordan 11
Chaussures tod's
Ray Ban pas cher
moncler sale
Prada Outlet
Tod's Outlet
Uggs Boots Clearance
Uggs Outlet

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, uggs outlet, oakley pas cher, timberland pas cher, nike air max uk, michael kors, kate spade, new balance, nike free uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, nike blazer pas cher, michael kors outlet online, nike tn, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet, nike air max uk, polo lacoste, hollister pas cher, vans pas cher, replica handbags, michael kors outlet, nike air max, michael kors outlet, burberry outlet, coach outlet store online, true religion outlet, hollister uk, true religion jeans, nike air force, ralph lauren uk, north face uk, hogan outlet, lululemon canada, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors, ray ban uk, nike roshe run uk, michael kors outlet online, ray ban pas cher, sac hermes, north face, mulberry uk, converse pas cher, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, guess pas cher

oakleyses said...

north face outlet, reebok outlet, nfl jerseys, timberland boots, soccer jerseys, hermes belt, iphone 6 cases, iphone 6s plus cases, mac cosmetics, instyler, wedding dresses, asics running shoes, vans outlet, ralph lauren, iphone 6 plus cases, iphone 6s cases, iphone 5s cases, mcm handbags, ferragamo shoes, chi flat iron, north face outlet, bottega veneta, insanity workout, nike trainers uk, giuseppe zanotti outlet, ghd hair, nike roshe run, new balance shoes, lululemon, louboutin, iphone cases, herve leger, babyliss, p90x workout, hollister, oakley, mont blanc pens, nike air max, beats by dre, ipad cases, valentino shoes, abercrombie and fitch, s6 case, nike huaraches, celine handbags, hollister clothing, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk, baseball bats

oakleyses said...

swarovski, converse outlet, moncler, ugg uk, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, supra shoes, louis vuitton, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, toms shoes, pandora uk, canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, barbour, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora jewelry, moncler, louis vuitton, vans, converse, ugg, lancel, ugg pas cher, canada goose, canada goose, barbour uk, doudoune moncler, montre pas cher, thomas sabo, moncler uk, louis vuitton, links of london, canada goose, ray ban, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose uk, canada goose jackets, louis vuitton, karen millen uk, juicy couture outlet, hollister, canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, moncler, hollister, replica watches, gucci, juicy couture outlet, coach outlet, swarovski crystal, nike air max, marc jacobs

oakleyses said...

jordan shoes, cheap oakley sunglasses, tiffany jewelry, louis vuitton, kate spade outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses wholesale, prada outlet, ray ban sunglasses, burberry pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, replica watches, nike free, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin uk, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp pas cher, nike free run, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, ugg boots, louboutin pas cher, jordan pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, nike air max, tory burch outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada handbags, nike roshe, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin shoes, nike outlet, polo ralph lauren, oakley sunglasses, gucci handbags, michael kors pas cher, tiffany and co, polo ralph lauren outlet online, sac longchamp pas cher, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, polo outlet