Quote: Pilgrim Church

A friend of mine, Tim, shared this quotation from a Jesuit priest in our Sunday School class. It reminds me of Wes Seeliger’s metaphor for the church: pioneers in a wagon train. It also reminds me of the challenge of change for churches who have become comfortable with tradition. Thought I’d share it. 

“During the day, I kept thinking about the meaning of being a pilgrim and of the pilgrim nature of the Church. 

The second Vatican council spoke of the Church as the pilgrim people of God, reminding us of a very ancient traditional description, which goes back to Abraham, who was called to leave his own country and to become a wanderer, a searcher. Those within the church who dislike change and oppose it in the name of tradition are not within the tradition of the Church, which, by its very nature, must be a church on the move, a searching church without any abiding city here. She betrays herself if she stops searching, settles down and think she has arrived. There is something essentially provisional about the church, because she is a people led by the spirit of the transcendent God, who cannot be enclosed in definitions, nor in temples made by human hands.

Pilgrims must travel light, otherwise they cannot continue on their way. Their equipment is designed for the journey and they do not fill their rucksacks with unnecessary possessions which only slow them down. As they walk they discover other treasures, which no one can take from them: an inner peace, new ways of seeing, a delight in nature. It is because they do not possess that they are able to enjoy everything.”

-Gerard W. Hughes (Scottish Jesuit priest, 1978); In search of a Way: Two Journeys of Spiritual Discovery

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