Walking offers us a natural opportunity for reflection and prayer.
Since the beginning of time people have walked to a well to get water. The Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus at Jacobs Well transformed her life. She set forth on mission to proclaim the Good News. Many believed in him on the strength of her testimony. (John 4:1-30)
All across the world mothers rejoice when their babies begin to walk. A tear of blessing may roll down father’s cheek as they witness this miracle before them. A new exciting adventure has begun. They give thanks and praise to God for the blessing bestowed on their child and they pray for all who are unable to walk.
The Scriptures abound with references to walking which serve as a guide to the life giving power of
Walking in the Light
‘This is what we have heard from him, and the message that we are announcing to you; God is light; and there is no darkness in him at all. If we say that we are in union with God while we are living in darkness, we are lying because we are not living the truth. But if we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.’ (1 John 5:7)
On another occasion Jesus walked on water in the dead of night and reassured his disciples that because of his presence with them, they would not be lost in the storm. (Matthew 14: 23:33)
Later, he walked all the way to the cross to set us free. (John 19:17)
In the breaking of bread Jesus revealed his identity to his downhearted disciples whom he met on the road to Emmaus. Their hope was restored. (Luke 24:30)
Our bodies too benefit from the physical discipline of walking. As we lace up our shoes and set forth our hearts and minds are set free. We become ever more grounded in our whole being as we touch the soil of the earth. A gentle or powerful breeze cleanses our souls of anxiety. The risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes mellitus and some cancers are reduced. Waistlines are held in trim; mood and sleep patterns improve as stress levels return to a healthy level.
Birdsong and budding trees remind us that new life is bursting forth. Companions on the journey strengthen bonds of community. Lovers hold hands. Women of great stature carry their babies on their back; pets and their masters are as one. The environment is protected from harmful vehicle toxins.
Walking offers us a natural opportunity for reflection and prayer. Our relationship with the Divine is deepened. We acknowledge where we may have walked away from the each other or where we may have turned our back on God. Humbly acknowledging our creature-hood we surrender to God’s mercy and like the prodigal son we are welcomed home before our words of sorrow have left our lips. (Luke 15:11-32) Walking the Camino has helped many people to come to deeper self-knowledge and commitment to God.
As the years roll on our ability to don our hiking boots decreases. However, we may walk down Memory Lane and savour happy memories of bygone days. On occasion, we may ‘stub our toe’ on the memory of a broken relationship where reconciliation is needed. Grace is offered and if accepted our relationship with ourselves and each other maybe restored.
In God’s good time, we will all hear a call to walk into eternity. May we feel the gentle hand of God reaching out to us. May the joy of the Father and the embrace of our mother, Mary welcome us home. May we undo our walking shoes, bathe our tired feet and rest with him who has walked us all the days of our lives.