"Explain the part Pilgrimage plays in the life of Christians"
“Explain the Part Pilgrimage plays in the life of Christians”
There are many reasons for going on pilgrimage. Some go on Pilgrimage searching for God, to reaffirm their faith. Others go to have the opportunity to worship freely with other believers, a feeling of belonging, being ‘allowed’ to worship. Another reason is to go as an act of penance to make up for sin; this reason isn’t as common as it was in the Middle Ages when priests would sometimes give pilgrimage as a penance
The benefits from going on pilgrimage vary from person to person. A sense of belonging is one of the many things gained. The person I interviewed was a relative who went on pilgrimage in May of this year, she said ‘I gained a lot from travelling; I had an overwhelming mountaintop experience whilst proceeding around the Stations of the Cross, meeting new people along the way’. She also said “the spiritual discipline showed me a kind of peacefulness I don’t normally come across.’ my relative believes she can find peace in Lourdes that she cannot get anywhere else. Others may say a lot is gained purely if you stay open to the new surroundings. Lasting friendships are gained in this way. Some pilgrims may strengthen their relationship with God and gain an understanding of their blessings and failings. Also pilgrims can realize how lucky they are, with good health and not take it for granted, and not take free time they ever have for granted either. Going to Lourdes an make you ‘grateful and thankful for what you have’ because pilgrims become aware of the difficulty others have in their lives, for example, the children taken by the HPCT are much less fortunate than others. In Lourdes pilgrims can focus on own gifts and gifts of others, perhaps accept themselves and get rid of negative thoughts about themselves and change the way they perceive others. Those who are sick may gain an acceptance of their illness. Another gain form going on pilgrimage would be the sense of belonging, with believers that all felt the same way. ‘Praying with others feels like your are benefiting them as well, it is nice to share such a good experience’ said my interviewee.
This is a preview of the whole essay
When on pilgrimages, miracles can happen, big and small. I did some research on the internet and here is a story which made an impact on me. Mr. Micheli had a large tumor in his left pelvic area. A biopsy showed that the tumor was an aggressive, usually fatal form of cancer. For some reason, the man did not receive treatments for ten months as his skeleton was disintegrating. The man went to Lourdes, where he was bathed. Reports from the Medical Commission of Lourdes record that the man had lost significant amounts of weight, was in constant pain, and was unable to eat. After his return from Lourdes, Mr. Micheli began to regain his appetite and noticed more mobility in his legs. About one month later, doctors took X-rays. The man's cancer had decreased significantly in size. Then in May, 1963, the tumor disappeared and, as reported by physician Larry Dossey, "Another event happened that was even more amazing than the disappearance of the tumor. The bone of the pelvis, hip, and femur began to regrow, and with time completely reconstructed itself! Two months after being bathed at Lourdes, Micheli went for a walk." The physician's report of Mr. Micheli's case read, in part, "The X-rays confirm categorically and without doubt that an unforeseen and even overwhelming bone reconstruction has taken place of a type unknown in the annals of world medicine. The patient is alive and in a flourishing state of health nine years after his return from Lourdes." This is certainly an example of a life changing experience as a result of pilgrimage.
Apart from the big miracles such as this one, pilgrims witness small significant miracles that are only noticed by them. An example of how pilgrimage changes lives is one about a girl in my school who suffers from Downs Syndrome, after going on pilgrimage to Lourdes Maria gained confidence and could talk openly to a class (something she wouldn’t have considered doing before). After looking at a video on Pilgrimage to Lourdes in Class, it is clear that amongst many unfortunate or unhappy people, there is much happiness. ‘The hardest thing about going to Lourdes is actually leaving, the people I met there were so true to themselves and I learnt to be like it too, I could finally accept things that I was conscious about like my weight’, Said my relative who gained confidence in her time in Lourdes. From what I can gather from interviews and other accounts of pilgrimages I can see that anything can be gained on pilgrimage, if pilgrims set individual goals, big or small, and if they fully involve themselves and be open to new ideas and new people, anything can be gained and it can change their life.