While much is done to prepare physically to walk the Camino, to prepare for the journey itself, there is also much that has to be done to prepare spiritually. If you don’t approach it from a spiritual point of view, then it just becomes a long walk in a pretty place. And while it is those things. The original purpose of the Camino, The Way, was to seek penance for your sins.
Over the centuries, faithful Christians (Catholics) would make the pilgrimage from all over Europe to the Shrine of St. James, located in Santiago, Spain. Your pilgrimage began at your own front door and ended at the Cathedral, when you consider the distances over Europe, many people were on this pilgrimage for years. Upon arriving you were to crawl into the Cathedral before the statue of St. James, kiss the feet of the statue and ask for the forgiveness of your sins. Your penance was considered to be the arduous journey that you had under taken to arrive at that place. Pilgrims were given compostela for completing the pilgrimage, which served as an indulgence for certain sins that had been committed. And while most of that is not my theology, there is a certain spiritual and historical significance to join this pilgrimage.
So while practice walking, running, and even learning how to pack, I am continually reminding myself, that this is yet another search for a thin place. A place where the veil between earth and God is easily pulled back. I have become mindful that it will be important to have devotion and prayer as we journey as a group. Since first conversing about this pilgrimage I have begun to collect a few “pilgrims guides” as it were for spiritual development and formation along The Way.
This serves to continually remind me that I am not simply going for a long walk in Spain, which I do often find myself saying aloud, but I am on a pilgrimage with fellow believers.
Help me to recall that this is to be a thin place.