If you are curious about the Capuchin Walk and are perhaps preparing to walk it, remember: the spiritual life is not abstract. It is concrete, just as the path is concrete.
When reality, sometimes in its banal repetitiveness, opens you up to an encounter, to a loving relationship with God, with brothers and sisters… that is the spiritual life!
It is not a religious intimacy enclosed within four walls, but the life that flows under the feet of those who walk. The spiritual life is woven of gestures, words, faces, encounters and relationships.
So why set out on a journey? So that we can re-appropriate every single moment and discover that there is much more to it than what appears in the first layer. The life we lead is frenetic, fast-paced and sometimes alienating. Setting out on our journey gives us the opportunity to slow down and reconsider at every step the beauty and the “more” that our heart seeks and that the breath of the Spirit manifests to us.
Before you, many brothers have walked these paths. As sons of St Francis, they too have immersed themselves in the beauty and fatigue of the road, remembering what the Saint of Assisi often said to the friars: “We are pilgrims and strangers in this world”. The road then becomes a teacher of life. A metaphor for life.
We set out on our journey and the destination is not a place but an encounter with a face, a person: our Lord Jesus Christ. And while on the journey of life we go to meet Him, we soon realise that He has already come to meet us and is walking with us; He breathes our air, He is present at our table, He lights up our smiles, He carries the burden of the day with us.
The road also reminds us that fatigue is man’s inseparable companion on life’s journey. It cannot be avoided; on the contrary, it is precisely this that provides us with the greatest lesson, reminding us that we are limited and fragile, and not omnipotent, as we are often made to believe. And on the road, in the fatigue, we discover who we are. Beloved children who, in order to go forward, need another, the Other, by whom to be supported and with whom to walk. No one is saved alone, just as no one can travel the path of life in isolation from others. The road makes us discover that the other is not an enemy to defend ourselves against, but a brother to embrace, because true pilgrims, sooner or later, discover that there is a God who calls himself Father.
May you too, like Francis of Assisi and the many holy pilgrims of all times and places, be able to meet the Lord on the journey you are preparing to make. Pray that your eyes will be able to recognise the Father in the fatigue and beauty that the road will put before you. He will then warm your heart!
Enjoy your Walk!