Casey Beaumier, SJ, experienced many uncomfortable shifts during his weeks of pilgrimage, walking from place to place, begging for food and shelter, and allowing strangers to become friends. During all of that, he struggled to understand where the journey was leading. Why was he here? What was he doing?
I returned to Gonzaga grumpy and completely drained of any remaining confidence in myself. I felt completely fragile. We sat at dinner with two Jesuits, the superior of the house, Fr. Henry, and Fr. Joe, the house minister who served as campus minister at the high school. Having these dinner companions proved to be a game changer for me. We felt an instant connection to Fr. Henry and Fr. Joe. . . . Henry shared with us that he had revived the novice pilgrimage in the Maryland Province back when he was the novice master a few years earlier. He said that for him, the whole point of the pilgrimage was to cultivate complete confidence in and dependence on God. He discovered that among his novices the real challenge they faced was learning how to beg. Worldly pride and stubborn self-dependence had to be overcome for the graces of pilgrimage to emerge. The ultimate purpose of each particular pilgrimage was shrouded in mystery. Henry then turned directly to me, looked straight into my eyes, and said, “The purpose of your pilgrimage might not be known until months from now. If you knew the reasons now, well, you wouldn’t have any need for trust. The truth is that you’re being led in freedom all the time. I can’t make you believe that, but I believe it. You’re right where you are supposed to be as a pilgrim.”
—Excerpted from A Purposeful Path: How Far Can You Go with $30, a Bus Ticket, and a Dream?
“Learning to trust”….this really hit home. Thank you for this article. I have to stop questioning and thinking I need to know exactly why and be a pilgrim.
Enjoying the articles
Something to really ponder on. I worked at a Conference of St Vincent de Paul , as did my Father and Grandfather, before me, so I guess I am used to helping people. SO,putting yourself into the same situation as the person who is in need??? I guess it would be a life-changing experience for you and for most who usually give out the help.I think of the beggars and the poor homeless people , begging on the street.I guess a lot of them feel embarassed too. God has a plan for you. God Bless you. A.M.D.G.
At some point in our pilgrimage, we “arrive”–through God’s love and grace–to the certitude that we are already living out the answer to our questions.
Oh my goodness, that hit me hard: “learning how to beg” “worldy pride and stubborn self-dependance” I hate asking for anything, it’s so challenging as I don’t like to draw attention to myself. Sounds like I need a huge outpouring of grace for humility and courage. Thanks for this post.
A good reminder that God’s grace usually takes more time to realize than our own impatience expects.