The Joyful Pilgrim

JOY! The three-letter word that brings a smile to the lips and a skip to our steps can be fleeting, yet we know that God wants this for us.  Lent and Advent provide countless opportunities to draw near to Christ and find joy – but where can it be found after the Easter and Christmas seasons?  Come and see what it means to be a Joyful Pilgrim and learn how to discover and keep joy in your heart year-round. A Pilgrimage doesn’t have to involve planes, trains, and automobiles, but it certainly can if you are able.  You can personalize and develop your own monthly, weekly, or daily pilgrimage where travelling is never necessary.  Don’t disregard the power of the pilgrimage; even the one taken from your armchair!  The result could be a sense of joy in your life that you’ve always found elusive.

You may click each topic heading below for a more detailed PDF file that you can print and use for your own pilgrimage purposes.

Joy According to the Experts:  What is joy?  Why is it important? What does it mean for us? How do we achieve it? Or – CAN we achieve it?  Pope Paul VI, Thomas Aquinas, and even C.S. Lewis give us some insight into the concept of Christian joy to help us in gaining proper perspective on this sometimes misunderstood emotion or feeling.  Can we learn about joy in Sacred Scripture?  From Christ?  Is joy the same as happiness?  Is joy even possible for any of us in today’s age?  Let’s unpack this term and really learn the truth about joy as a means to prepare for becoming the most joyful of pilgrims.  After all, that’s the goal — to be a joyful pilgrim!  How can we accomplish this if we really don’t understand what we are after?

The Purpose behind the Pilgrim:  Understand the nature of the pilgrimage, a little bit of history, and why they may be beneficial to our own spiritual life.  We have ready-made resources that can assist us in our planning that will never grow old or outdated, and we need look no further than our liturgical calendar year.  When we tie our pilgrimage to the liturgical year, we have our finger on the pulse of the Church and we become a living part of the calendar as it unfolds day by day.  The only obstacle is figuring out how to best draw from this resource according to our own personal abilities and interests.  Truly, the sky is the limit.  You will be surprised by the options that you’ll have and the limitless customization of your personal pilgrimage.

Designing a Personal Pilgrimage:  The nuts and bolts of how to put together a personal pilgrimage to assist with our journey in becoming joyful pilgrims.  Examples for weekend, week-long, and even monthly pilgrimages (yes, even from the armchair) are available in this file and there are also resources on how to personalize your pilgrimage based on your location.  The key is to plan in advance, even if you only can plan a few days ahead, and to not overdo it!  It’s too easy to pack too much into your pilgrimage, which could result in frustration and failure.  That defeats the purpose of the pilgrimage!  So start off simple and see what works best for you, your abilities, your schedule, and the technology that you have on hand!