Thursday, 30 April 2015

Thoughts on pilgrimage from Gerard W. Hughes

En route to and from Antwerp reading Gerard Hughes' thoughts on pilgrimage in his book In Search of a Way/Two journeys of Discovery...
Blake: 'Great things are done when men and mountains meet.'

The challenge when travelling is to work out what NOT to take: a suitcase and possessions form an identity.

Gerard Manley Hopkins' black sonnets: a mental point of reference.

Walking is for contemplation, not meditation

Gerard Hughes had been University chaplain in Glasgow. His thoughts on his students' faith:
- what use is a God of 'wrath and vengeance, only interested in failure and sin'?
- a frequent hidden resentment of a God who would not let them be - but instead controlled/directed/judged
- the nature of prayer is not thinking. 

Frequently quotes Hilaire Belloc's The Path to Rome

A colleague advised a ten minute rest every hour on long distance walks, and walking the first hour in silence

On a meeting in Paris with Bernard, an elderly man whose insistence on talking and introducing him to friends/acquaintances irritates him because it delays him on his way. He later regrets this:
"Our whole life and character is contained in any incident, no matter how trivial it seems. In the peace of this forest I caught a glimpse of myself in the meeting with Brenard and I did not like it. "

Saint Ignatius at one stage of his life signed himself 'The Pilgrim'.

One of many thoughts from the Gospels: Unless you lose your life you cannot find it.

The greatest commandment of some Catholic priests: 'Thou shalt not rock the boat'.

"We need mystics far more than theologians; poets and artists far more than we need lawyers or industrialists, city planned or politicians. The New Society, if it is not to be more hideous than the old, needs spiritual more than economic growth, education in contemplation rather than schooling in manipulation of the world's resources and of each other."

"On the road, as an anonymous human being, I became more sensitive to people's reactions, whether of acceptance or rejection. Kindess elated me; suspicion, which was frequent especially in france, or hostility, which I encountered only once, depressed me."

"Sometimes a phrase from one of the psalms or prayers would strike me and keep returning to my mind during the day, but it had to be something very simple. Its slow rhythmic repetition in time with my steps would still my mind."

"I am told that there are roads in Spain where the distance between places are measured by the number of rosaries you can say."

"I suddenly felt very sorry, not so much at this particular incident, but for all the harsh words I had ever spoken and all the hurt I had caused, especially to friends. We do not have each other for long."

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy