The great monastery of Monte Oliveto–nestled in the hills of Tuscany just South of the city of Siena.
I visited there on my 1987 hitch hiking pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and re-visited last summer on a trip to Italy.
I hitch hiked from England to Jerusalem staying in monasteries all along the route.
As I walked I prayed and as I prayed I was healed. I won’t go into the details, but God was cleaning house, and to do a really thorough house clean you have to move the furniture, throw out the trash, salvage the treasures and restore order.
Walking and praying and then staying in monasteries was the balm I needed, and I learned many things, but here is one:
In a world of fugitives the one who is heading home will seem to be running away.
We live in a world of fugitives. The majority of people live shallow lives on purpose. They do not want to examine life. They do not want to ask the important questions. They want to be entertained. They want to blot out the world with the sedatives of drink, drugs, food, sex, possessions, power, prestige and pleasure.
If you feel like the urge to get away, to hunker down, to be still, to be alone is weird and you are some kind of an odd ball, then take heart.
In a world of fugitives, the one who is heading home will seem to be running away.
In other words dare to be different. Dare to be who God created you to be, and you will only find who that person is by spending time alone. The pilgrimage is always solitary, but the pilgrim is never alone.
You are never alone on the pilgrimage because God and all the other invisible pilgrims are with you. By “invisible pilgrims” I mean that “great cloud of witnesses” that surround us. When you are alone you can connect with the saints and angels.
If you are reading this, then don’t forget today to pray. Spend time alone with the One. To remind you, here is a little word play/poem I wrote about contemplation years ago.
Be Still and Know That I AM God
Be Still and Know That I AM
Be Still and Know