Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Peregrinatio

“I’m only lost if I’m going someplace in particular.” Megan Scribner

On a recent night as I lay awake in bed, a gentle stirring suggested I attempt to finally complete Thomas Merton’s, The Seven Storey Mountain. I say “finally” because it has not been an easy read for me. As I was walking the next morning, I thought about Merton and my interaction with his autobiography and realized that is how his journey to the Trappist monastery was—it was not easy. One of the beautiful things about Merton was his ongoing willingness to follow God’s promptings even when he did not necessarily consider himself a follower.

One of the final quotes that resonated with me (and there were many) appeared in the epilogue.
“In one sense we are always traveling, and traveling as if we did not know where we were going.
In another sense we have already arrived.
We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are traveling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore in that sense we have arrived and are dwelling in the light.”

The words ‘already’ and ‘not yet’ come to mind as I read this passage. The yin and the yang. Dark and light. I am reminded of a tapestry that is continually woven with the changing of texture and colors. It may not yet be finished, but it already tells a story. We are fully in Christ and we are nowhere near Him. The both/and. Already and not yet. We are on a pilgrimage with no specific end in mind for we cannot comprehend what the “end” will be like. AND, there is a deep knowing in our soul that speaks to the end even in the present moment.

In Praying with the Elements, Christine Paintner writes of the term: Peregrinatio. (Personally, I just love the sound of the word!) It refers to a journey initiated by an inner prompting, going where the Spirit leads to seek the place of your resurrection. Peregrinatio seems like the most apt word for Merton’s journey.


As I sit on my porch writing, I wonder about my life and how open I am to be on a journey without a specific destination in mind. It seems to be those moments that are the least planned that lead to the greatest surprise and joy. When I think of jumping into the lake with my young charges, I think of peregrinatio. It was not planned yet it felt like baptism. It was holy. It was resurrection.

I pray that I will be open to the subtle promptings in my life this day and every day to follow. Where are you being asked to step into Peregrinatio—the journey with no specific end or goal in mind? Where are you being asked to trust the mystery of life and experience the beauty and wildness of the unknown?

photos by geezer dude

6 comments:

Shelby said...

"Where are you being asked to trust the mystery of life and experience the beauty and wildness of the unknown?"

I feel that I'm asked this question of life each day... I also pull against it often..not every day, but many days.

Then there are also many days that I crave the question - beg to be taken to more mysteries, more experiences. It is scary tho. And exciting. Oft times I am just tired. Rest seems to get in the way of my travels. It's a constant struggle.

Exceptional thought provoking post for me.. take care :)

lucy said...

shelby--i, too, believe we are asked these questions every day, but too often choose not to listen or to respond. "it IS scary AND exciting!"

Abbey of the Arts said...

Lovely post, I fell in love with the idea of perigrinatio while in Ireland and it ripples through me with its invitation. Most days I think I do live into the "beauty and wildness of the unknown" and it is exhilirating and terrifying.
blessings to you, Christine

lucy said...

christine--thank you for your ongoing support and inspiration!

hmmbrd said...

Hearing or feeling the subtle promptings in the first place is tricky. Intentional quieting of my mind and heart improves my chances of this. Then the following part... oh my! I love the hummingbird pictures. They are said to bring joy, hope and healing in times of sorrow and hardship. Handy when you are living in the already and not yet.
thanks for the beautiful reminder.

lucy said...

hummingbird--thank you for the reminder of what your 'namesakes' bring!