Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Soul of a Pilgrim

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Soul of a Pilgrim

Article excerpt

THE SOUL OF A PILGRIM

By Christine Valters Paintner (Sorin Books, 2015)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Through a confluence of grace and timing, Christine Valters Paintner's The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within arrived to me amid a series of reflections on the meaning of pilgrimage in a Christian's life. The daily Mass readings of Ordinary Time that week invited the church into the story of Yahweh's call to Abraham (Gen. 12): "Leave your country, your father's house, for the land that I will show you." I was also preparing to moderate a showing of Emilio Estevez's film The Way. The Soul of a Pilgrim became a compass, guiding me through what might otherwise have been a shallow reading of Genesis and a superficial viewing of the film.

Each chapter focuses on one of eight aspects that transform a pedestrian view of life into an intentional, life-altering pilgrimage: 1) hearing the call and responding; 2) deciding what to take with us--and what to leave behind; 3) arriving at and passing through multiple thresholds along the way; 4) walking--persistently putting one foot in front of the other; 5) living with the inevitable discomforts that come from being a stranger and wayfarer; 6) having the courage to keep starting over when tempted to quit the journey; 7) accepting the mystery of it all--the deeper, elusive meaning of pilgrimage; and 8) arriving back "home," transformed by an enhanced understanding of a faith-filled life. …

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