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Throughout Christian history, pilgrimage has always featured highly. However, pilgrimages are a lot safer now.

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Introduction

Throughout Christian history, pilgrimage has always featured highly. However, pilgrimages are a lot safer now. Pilgrims used to walk miles on their pilgrimage and risked many dangers. Nowadays, they are a lot safer and pilgrims can now go by car, bus or plane. Pilgrimage is a journey assigned by God, to a holy place or land. This place or and land is where an event has happened that is relevant to what the pilgrim believes. Pilgrimages are made for many different reasons including as a way to increase the pilgrim's faith, or to pray for something that is important to them or their loved ones or just simply to find or strengthen the pilgrim's relationship with God. Pilgrimage experience has four strands to it, which are Revelation, where truths are revealed to the pilgrim, Repentance, where the pilgrim shows real sorrow. Cleansing both physically and spiritually together healing physical, emotionally and the inner peace of spiritual healing. Pilgrims who travel to Medugorje on a pilgrimage go on the faith, that if the pilgrim is physically or mentally afflicted they may come back healed. They go to be spiritually strengthened and renewed. Many believers have also been reportedly, to leave Medugorje converted. Medugorje is a Christian place of worship or pilgrimage because of the many apparitions of the Virgin Mary that have occurred there. ...read more.

Middle

When back home and away from the Sacred Shrines or places, the benefits are still apparent within the pilgrim. Many pilgrims come back feeling less angry and agitated and not so selfish and frustrated if they don't get what they want from life through receiving so many gifts from God including gentleness, peace, kindness, patience and love. Many also come back wanting to spread the word of God. They do this through talking openly about their faith to others and by helping others in real ways. It's not just only the pilgrimage itself which has a great effect on a pilgrim but also the Masses, processions etc which they attend while at the sacred shrine. While on a pilgrimage, the pilgrims may find themselves feeling God's presence even more strongly and feeling closer to God. They may listen to the Mass and Liturgies in a different way, listening more closely, understanding them better and might be able to relate the readings to themselves more. Afterwards, they want to Spread the Word of God or even have their faith strengthened, as they might of felt God's presence more strongly during Mass and taken reassurance from that, that God's listening to their prayers and they are not alone. Not all pilgrims who go on a Christian pilgrimage to be healed of affliction are Christians but may come back converted to Christianity. ...read more.

Conclusion

However with all the shops surrounding the Shrine, pilgrims may find themselves more absorbed in the shops themselves and what they have to offer, than by God. This is just one view, there are however many people who do not agree with this statement. Many people would say that the commercialisation only enhances the pilgrimage experiences. The shops offer the pilgrim the chance to take the pilgrimage home with them. By buying souvenirs from the shop, whether it be a crucifix, statue, Rosary beads whatever, it reminds the pilgrim of their time spent on pilgrimage and also shows their faith and can be used to develop their devotion. All the shops, restaurants and accommodation, make going on a pilgrimage easier as these cater for the pilgrim's physical needs. It gives the pilgrim a place to stay and gives them the simple basic right of food and drink. The commercialisation also creates many jobs. People who may not otherwise be able to get jobs may be able to do so at the shops around the pilgrimage Shrines. I think that the commercialisation of pilgrimages helps and does not reduce the value of the pilgrimage providing it remains proportionate and away from the actual sacred shrine itself. There are too many shops then it does risk reducing the value of the pilgrimage experience. There has to be a balance achieved in order to keep the spiritual value and focus of a pilgrimage whilst catering for the needs of the modern pilgrim. ...read more.

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