"Let all creation help you to praise God.
Give yourself the rest you need.
When you are walking alone,
listen to the sermon preached to you
by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky,
the sun and the whole world.
Notice how they preach to you a sermon
full of love, of praise of God,
and how they invite you to proclaim the greatness
of the one who has given them being."
St. Paul of the Cross
When does a leap of faith become an act of insanity?
However, when does a predictable life of comfort lose its invigorating sense of adventure?
These are questions I recently asked myself... but not in that order.
As I neared my 60th birthday, my lovely wife, Betsy, offered me a gift of my choosing, since she knew that family commitments would prevent us from traveling together, this time. So, after being inspired by a meaningful movie, called The Way - about an unforgettable hike on Spain's El Camino de Santiago - I chose to backpack along a similarly historic, but less known, pilgrim trail.
|Via Francigena, |
the ancient pilgrim trail to Rome
Via Francigena (pronounced: vee-ah fran-CHEE-jen-ah), is the ancient path to Rome that is documented to have been followed by pilgrims since 725 AD. A thousand years ago, Archbishop Segeric precisely mapped today's entire Via Francigena, beginning in Canterbury England. While that extreme journey can span almost 2,000 kilometers, I was only attempting the last, and most popular, leg of the trail: from Viterbo to Rome.
A little reward awaits successful pilgrims at the Vatican. After verifying that at least 100 kilometers of Via Francigena have been completed, on foot, the Vatican's pilgrim office awards a "Testimonium" certificate to each successful pilgrim.
It all sounded like a welcome adventure, both intrinsically and extrinsically. But, eventually, my pilgrimage to Rome, like so many before, did not go as planned.