Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Camino de Santiago: Pilgrim´s Progress

Two weeks ago, I started my running/hiking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela starting in St. Jean Pied the Port at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. The day before, I had took the train from Madrid to Lourdes, France and after spending the night there proceeded to St. Jean.
The first two and a hal-days went very well. I was able to run/hike barefoot across the Pyrenees mountains and the Navarra region, up to Pamplona. The first day as easy due to a lot of grassy surface and and soft forest path. It was also cold up in the mountains. The second day was more agonizing due to the harsh gravel paths. The third day, I was able to hike barefoot up to Pamplona, but in the afternoon the road became too harsh and hot that I had to use my sandals for the first time.
Since the fourth day up to the present, I have done more hiking than running, and less barefoot trekking due to the heat and harsh road conditions. I have to use my sandals more often especially in the afternoons and also when confronted by long stretch of sharp gravel that would hurt my feet. For several days, I have been suffering from a swollen right ankle due to a sprain while running with my sandals. The only way to alleviate the pain is to hike barefoot. So these days I try to do more barefoot hiking, up to four to five hours in the morning before the summer heat is felt.
So far, I have been averaging 30 km per day. Today, I have done around 420 km since I started, more than half the length of the Camino.
The last two weeks on the road has been a time of solitude, prayer and reflection. It is indeed a retreat on foot. It is time of soul-searching, going over my life´s journey, and discerning God´s will for the years to come.
It has also been a time of experiencing friendship and community among other pilgrims, especially in the Albergues at night. I have also been able to celebrate the Eucharist and to listen to other pilgrims share their stories. I have also heard confession and gone to confession (to a fellow pilgrim-priest from Ireland.
Through out the past two weeks I have become acutely aware of the following:
1. My dependence on God´s providence and the kindness of others
2. My own limitations and weaknesses
3. The need to be more flexible, and not to rigidly hold on to my own plans and wants
4. The need to slow down, not to race, because life is not a race but a journey. The slower and relax I am, the more distance I can cover in one day.
5. The presence of God in the beauty I see around me and in other pilgrims I encounter on the way.
I still have 13 more days to go before I reach Santiago de Compostela. I am still at the Meseta - the hottest region in Spain. I hope that by the time I reach the mountains and Galician region where it is cooler, I can do more barefoot trekking. I am planning to do the last stage from Sarria to Santiago totally barefoot. Thus, I have reduced the average distance for those days to 24 km/day.
I continue to remember my loved ones, relatives, friends and confreres in my prayer. I pray and hope that I will reach my destination safely.


Anonymous said...

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today..................................................................

ksam said...

Hoping the slightly cooler weather we just had has made it's way over to your side of the Atlantic! Keeping you in thoughts and prayers for this journey, and looking forward to more posts.

Delight50 said...

Congratulations Fr. Picx..You're such a very tough priest. I am sad to know that you are planning to stop being a professor.. yet I also believe and you are right to say you have to follow another're one of the best professors I had during my Theology course in Ateneo de Davao. God bless you Fr. Picx.. Keep the journey on...

carcinos said...

Hey! :)
I was one of the pilgrims you met in one of those hostels! If I am not mistaken, it was after crossing Navarra that we met...

Just wanted to tell you that you really were an inspiration and that it was great to meet you!

I hope you made it safe back home and that you have kept moving people around you!

God Bless,


carcinos said...

Hey! I am one of those pilgrims you met during the Santiago's way.

We started almost at the same time. I was walking the way with some of my friends, and we were really moved by you doing it barefoot.

We spoke after Navarra... in a little town in a little hostal.

There I found out that you were a priest from the Philiphines... that was amazing... as I am catholic! :) and have lots of friends from there!

Anyways... I hope you made it safe back home and that you have kept inspiring people around you!

God Bless,


Fr. Picx said...

Hi Antonio, good to hear from you. I think it was in Zariaquiegui where we met. I made it back to our country. Soon, I will be on a pilgrimage again across the Philippines - covering 2,200 km in 58 days. But I will not be doing it barefoot due to the hot asphalt and cement surface, and I will be averaging 42 km every day.

carcinos said...

Oh wow!! That is fascinating. Wish you all the best with that, and I hope we will meet again in the future.

Best wishes from London.

PS. Next year I am going to be studying in Singapore all year. And I am visiting the Philiphines for sure at some point! :)

Maybe see you there!

God bless,