Posted February 17, 2011 in The Pope's Corner:
I Am a Pilgrim

by Pope Benedict XVI.

The following is excerpted from an interview by Fr. Frederico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office.

I could say that going on pilgrimage is part of my biography—Marktl, Tittmoning, Aschau, Traunstein, Munich, Freiburg, Bonn, Munster, Tubingen, Regensbury, Munich, Rome—but perhaps this is an external aspect.

However, your question [about how I see pilgrimage in my own life and spirituality] reminded me of the instability of this life, of being on a journey…

Of course, someone might criticize pilgrimages saying, "God is everywhere. There is no need to go to another place." But it is also true that faith, in accordance with its essence, includes "being a pilgrim."

The Letter to the Hebrews shows what faith is in the figure of Abraham, who leaves his land and lives his whole life as a pilgrim bound for the future.

And this Abrahamic movement is perpetuated in the act of faith. Above all it means being a pilgrim inwardly, but it must also be expressed outwardly.

Sometimes it means emerging from one’s daily routine, from the practical world, from utilitarianism, emerging only to be on the way towards transcendence: to transcend oneself and one’s daily life and thus also to find a new freedom, a time of interior rethinking, of greater self-knowledge, and of seeing God and the other.

It is not only coming out of oneself towards something greater, but it is also traveling together.

The pilgrimage unites: together we journey towards the other and thus we discover each other.

In the Middle Ages, many people went on pilgrimage, and in recent years, this need to be spiritually and physically in movement in order to find one another and also silence, freedom, renewal, and God, has been reborn.

This interview took place on November 6, 2010 on the plane to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to what may well be the best known on foot pilgrim destination in the world.


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