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Hoping for a better understanding of Christian practice while on the Portugues

LorneB

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Portugues - Porto to Vigo, 2017; Vigo to SDC to Muxia, 2018
In putting forward my questions below, I’m bearing in mind that one is expected to be delicate when posting in the forum about religious matters. I hope what I’m asking is in the right spirit.

I’m going to be resuming my walk along the Portugues soon (yes!). I’m not a Christian, and so was not especially attentive to Christian themes and points of significance while walking last year. My next time out, I’d like to have a better understanding of what a practicing Christian might do or seek while on the Camino. I wouldn’t have a lot of time for advance reading, but would be happy to put pauses in my walking days for some reading along the way.

I’d also appreciate having more information at hand about religious points of interest from a historical and cultural perspective if there are resources any of you would care to suggest.

Thanks all,

LorneB
 
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D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
The religious doctrine of Salvation, which is part of the theology surrounding Christianity, is not something that I want to be part of this discussion here on the forum. It would be viewed as proselytizing, and not in the ecumenical spirit of the varied beliefs, and so would not be appropriate. I mention it because it is just something to be aware of when talking with a Christian, as it is part of that belief system.

From a secular perspective, apart from the theology, a Christian strives to be a follower of Jesus. To embrace what He embraced, to love others regardless of their spiritual condition, and to strive to be in as close a relationship with Jesus as possible.

So, speaking for myself, the Camino pilgrimage was and will be a time of religious and spiritual contemplation in examining how to better love and serve those around me, to try and gain a more profound perspective that, as a fallible human being, I can never be perfect as a Christian, I can only strive to be the best follower of Christ that I can be. And to help me continue to reconcile the fact that my weaknesses are not unforgivable failures, but a continued learning process that will continue until I leave this earth.

Organized religion does not define the Christian, it is but one vehicle for fellowship, learning, and growth.

If I may, read a modern translation of the Book of James (how appropriate for a Camino). It is a short Book in the Bible, and James does a profoundly good job of describing, in basic language, what the practical day-to-day meaning and experience should be for those who decide to dedicate their lives to being a follower of Christ. The New Living Translation, while a paraphrased translation and not focused on extreme translated accuracy of the Hebrew and Greek, is actually quite good and easy to read for the general novice.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Not quite sure what you are looking for, but I have walked the camino as a Christian spiritual discipline, and found it extremely healthful and gratifying, too.
It helps to have a purpose. I did it as a walking prayer for the soul of a friend who had died suddenly, and her parents who were walking with me. I followed in a simplified way the daily hours that Monastics follow, with readings of the Psalms and a few meditations to roll around in my mind as I walked. (these are available as an app from "Give Us This Day.")
I used a rosary to keep my mind from wandering too much, but I did not pray the usual Rosary recitation. When I came to a place in the path with a waymark, a cruceiro, a chapel or a church, I stopped and put my hand on it, returned to the present, and said a prayer for my friend.
In the evenings I attended pilgrim's Masses with my friend's parents. When we got to Santiago I did the required steps for the Holy Year indulgence, (confession, attendance at a cathedral Mass, prayers) and had my Compostela made over in my friend's name, thus crediting my walk to her eternal account. (I'm not a big believer in these grace-bank procedures,, but it was for her parents' sake I did that, it gave them a great deal of peace, I think.)
It may appear a rather odd way to travel, but it made for a truly spiritual camino. It was a great eye-opener for me of what a spectacular Christian infrastructure our ancestors left us, especially in Galicia. The place is tailor-made for just this kind of inner journey.
I kinda doubt a non-believer would benefit in the same way, as it would be simply an intellectual exercise for him, rather than an ongoing conversation in what is a lively interpersonal relationship.
 
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Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
I think DaveBugg and Rebekah have summed it up perfectly.
For myself, I stop at each wayside cross or open chapel/church and say a prayer for a few folk I know who need them at the moment. On a personal level, I find it easier to say a prayer in the quiet and beauty of the countryside, or on the top of a mountain rather than in front of all the gold in the cathedrals!
Buen camino, y ultreia!
 

PixieAuror

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
22 April 2018 if all goes well
In putting forward my questions below, I’m bearing in mind that one is expected to be delicate when posting in the forum about religious matters. I hope what I’m asking is in the right spirit.

I’m going to be resuming my walk along the Portugues soon (yes!). I’m not a Christian, and so was not especially attentive to Christian themes and points of significance while walking last year. My next time out, I’d like to have a better understanding of what a practicing Christian might do or seek while on the Camino. I wouldn’t have a lot of time for advance reading, but would be happy to put pauses in my walking days for some reading along the way.

I’d also appreciate having more information at hand about religious points of interest from a historical and cultural perspective if there are resources any of you would care to suggest.

Thanks all,

LorneB
As a practicing Christian, I am not plaining on doing anything specifically Christain on the road. I understand that some points bare a special significance to other believers. If I might suggest, try to do what I do - talk to God while you walk and see waht happens. You might feel like an idiot the first time, but then if you see something, or get a thought in the silence, try to respond to that.
I am a Christian walking the Camino de Franes and for me, I walk and I pray and sometimes I tell God I wanna focus on the silence around me.
Just go and try to see if you can truly connect to the God around you on the camino.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
In Barcelos go to the tourist office, they will give you a free flyer with info about Christian services on the way. The Fransiscans in Barcelos also offer a lovely service of pilgrim blessing in the evening which if open to all, believers and non-believers alike. Buen Camino, SY

PS As a rule of thumb - Christian services are open for all to attend, out of respect, which you seem to have abundantly, you should not take communion. Other than that, we Christians are mostly welcoming ;-)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
I'm not a christian @LorneB. Something that will not be a shock to many on the forum. Nevertheless, to my heart, I walk as a pilgrim on a journey to a sacred place. That concept of itself changes my walks along the caminos into something different from a hike in good company.

I come from an older religion. That that I venerate was around before the christ but that that he taught resonates up and down the ages. Sometimes I pause to put a hand upon some of our old stones and remember why they were put there and sometimes I put my hand on those little wayside crosses or those loose stone walls of chapel and crypt and remember the same.

If you can get beyond the hike and into the journey you might find some surprises.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Not quite sure what you are looking for, but I have walked the camino as a Christian spiritual discipline, and found it extremely healthful and gratifying, too.
It helps to have a purpose. I did it as a walking prayer for the soul of a friend who had died suddenly, and her parents who were walking with me. I followed in a simplified way the daily hours that Monastics follow, with readings of the Psalms and a few meditations to roll around in my mind as I walked. (these are available as an app from "Give Us This Day.")
I used a rosary to keep my mind from wandering too much, but I did not pray the usual Rosary recitation. When I came to a place in the path with a waymark, a cruceiro, a chapel or a church, I stopped and put my hand on it, returned to the present, and said a prayer for my friend.
In the evenings I attended pilgrim's Masses with my friend's parents. When we got to Santiago I did the required steps for the Holy Year indulgence, (confession, attendance at a cathedral Mass, prayers) and had my Compostela made over in my friend's name, thus crediting my walk to her eternal account. (I'm not a big believer in these grace-bank procedures,, but it was for her parents' sake I did that, it gave them a great deal of peace, I think.)
It may appear a rather odd way to travel, but it made for a truly spiritual camino. It was a great eye-opener for me of what a spectacular Christian infrastructure our ancestors left us, especially in Galicia. The place is tailor-made for just this kind of inner journey.
I kinda doubt a non-believer would benefit in the same way, as it would be simply an intellectual exercise for him, rather than an ongoing conversation in what is a lively interpersonal relationship.

Thank you for sharing your story, Rebekah; I very much appreciate reading of your Spiritual Camino.
 
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2009
Lorne, you might enjoy a tiny little book called "Pocket Prayers for Pilgrims" by John Pritchard. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0715142380/?tag=

It fits easily into a pocket or your pack, and has short readings of Scriptures, poetry, or prayers that directly relate to a walking pilgrimage. It would be perfect for your "pauses" in your walking days. Also, the Psalms are a nice book of the Bible to read on the Camino, as many of the songwriters looked around at creation and tried to get their feelings into words. You'll be able to find a small New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs on Amazon to take with you. Or maybe even a book of just the Psalms - I haven't looked in a while!

Enjoy all the planning and Buen Camino!
Faith
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
My next time out, I’d like to have a better understanding of what a practicing Christian might do or seek while on the Camino.

If you are looking for ritual or doctrine, many others can give you better guidance than I. However, I found the toughest Christian practice was treating others as I would want to be treated at the end of a long day when everyone is hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, and hurt. The urge is to be a "me-firster." But there will be plenty of opportunity to let someone else have the hot shower, share Compeed, cook or clean-up a meal, give away a bottom bunk bed, invite strangers to go along to dinner, urge a weary traveler to keep his feet moving, and countless other actions.

I snapped at a hospitalera who was sticking to routine rather than getting me to my bed with Teutonic efficiency. After a shower, I was embarrassed of myself, and took her a bottle of wine after my meal. Absent a time machine, about all you can do when you are a jerk is atone and forgive. Both are good, Christian practices.
 

LorneB

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Portugues - Porto to Vigo, 2017; Vigo to SDC to Muxia, 2018
Hi, everyone.

I just wanted to say thank you for all the generous and thoughtful responses. I'm not sure yet whose suggestions I'll be following, but they've all been helpful in moving my thinking along.

Wishing you all a Buen Camino, whatever road you're walking.

Lorne
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Christian themes and points of significance
I think there are two angles here that would be of interest to you. The first might be called "current Christian practice", which covers a huge swath of possibilities and many previous posters have addressed.

The other angle is the practice of Christianity at the time the pilgrimage routes were built. This is the version that is reflected in the church architecture you see nearly every day. Some resources for reading further:
The Age of Pilgrimage: The Medieval Journey to God by Jonathan Sumption
Pilgrimage: The Great Pilgrim Routes of Britain and Europe by Brabbs, Derry
The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook by Gitlitz, David M.
Cluny: In Search of God's Lost Empire by Edwin Mullins
 

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