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Explain why some Christians go on pilgrimage and the effect that this might have on them.

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Elisha Spain Explain why some Christians go on pilgrimage and the effect that this might have on them. (AO2 Max Marks 21) Inevitably, each pilgrim that travels to Lourdes, or any place of pilgrimage, will have their own personal reasons and individual circumstances that lead them to doing so. However, there are numerous fundamental reasons that may attract Christians to places of pilgrimage, which will be outlined and explored in this essay. Firstly, Christians may participate in pilgrimage in order to replicate the actions of Jesus and follow in his footsteps. He is the central figure of Christianity and therefore they may feel that they need to empathise physically with Jesus in order to bring themselves closer to him emotionally and spiritually. On many occasions Jesus spent solitary time pondering and considering his life and praying before his Father. The most notable occasion being that after his baptism in which he travelled to the desert and faced temptation from the devil. Jesus also went to Jerusalem as an adolescent to attend the Passover festival and again to celebrate with his disciples towards the end of his life. To show the significance of solitude with God, Jesus would frequently spend time alone before and after performing miracles of healing; notably the healing of the man with leprosy as described in the Gospel ...read more.


Some pilgrims may have a sick friend or relative, or may be suffering from infirmity themselves and they travel to a place of pilgrimage to pray for healing. People sometimes take petitions for others who are sick and offer their petitions to Our Lady of Lourdes. Petitioning for one cause together may bring a tightened sense of unity and community amongst the pilgrims. Many Christians attempt to experience God through consummation of the healing water at Lourdes. This water is sourced from the spring at the Massabielle grotto where the Marian apparitions supposedly took place, and is believed by some to possess healing properties. The water also does not spoil or become stale, even if stored for extended periods. This property of preservation is thus emphasised as one of the proofs which convicts believers that the water is indeed holy. Not only do pilgrims drink the water, but they also queue nearby the baths to be washed in it. The pilgrims are willing and wanting to experience God, and having physical contact with what they believe to be 'healing water' will affect them profoundly; even if they are not miraculously physically healed. Perhaps physical contact with something so transcendentally celestial provokes much emotion and self-realisation. ...read more.


It is also important to realise that you do not necessarily need to be a person of great faith to attend Lourdes. Some people go in order to try and find God and bring themselves closer to Him. Some do not intend to become especially close to God but still go for the experience and other reasons; such as broad interest in the history of the location. The fact that Lourdes is not just for Christians is extremely significant. It demonstrates that places of pilgrimage bring people together as a community and widely accept every aspect of society - a strengthened faith in God can be merely a positive by-product of the journey. The changes that take place can often occur in the services that take place in pilgrimage. The fact that these changes occur during the Masses demonstrates the significance of God and the power of the services. The hope for change or impact is often a significant initial reason for attending the pilgrimage. Pilgrims often feel that they need to evade and punctuate their busy lifestyle for a small period; perhaps they realise that God has been pushed to one side and want to devote some time to replenishing their relationship with Him. Attending a pilgrimage gives people the opportunity to experience God, and the spark of divinity that lies within Lourdes inspires change amongst thousands of pilgrims. ...read more.

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