Friday, May 8, 2015

The Soul of a Pilgrim by Christine Valters Paintner

What does it mean to be a pilgrim on a pilgrimage? The Soul of a Pilgrim seeks to answer this question with us. Being on a spiritual journey is not new to most but to define yourself as a pilgrim is more than just being a traveler. I would say it is by way of seeking that makes the difference. The author speaks of letting some things find you and not to push to hard to understand but let it wash over you. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the story of the physical move of the author to Ireland and her inner spiritual journey. The book is more about being open and taking chances. I liked the creative praying the scriptures with immersing yourself into the story and speaking interiorly with the characters. I also, liked the photographic walks where you receive photos instead of taking photos. Using photography as meditation was a new concept to me and I love photography. I thought the biblical reflections by John Valters Paintner, the authors husband was the best part of the book. The introduction seemed a little new age like with yoga and meditation for me, this traditional Catholic. The reflections are explaining how to do Lectio Divina, which is a very Catholic way of prayer and bible study. The writing exploration through midrash is an ancient Jewish practice of explaining problems encountered in bible study. There is a part in Chapter 6 of the book about being okay with feeling uncomfortable. That may be a way of realizing something you need to learn and this spoke to me of letting things happen and not pushing so hard. I’ve been so schooled on making things happen that letting things wash over you is foreign to me. Intentional silence and intentional letting go of control is freedom. My favorite line in the book is “All of the feelings I encounter that make me want to slam the door on my inner life, these are precisely the place we are called to meet God”. Mrs. Painter goes on to say “I hope you see that much of our lives rest in the space between loss and hope. Our lives are full of Holy Saturday experiences.” I would recommend this book to you in beginning spiritual exploration and bible study in Lectio Divina. I was definitely left wanting more which is a good thing.

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