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Pilgrims on a Journey

By David Brubaker

Abbeys… Trees… Trails… Hills… Valleys… Cows… Sheep… Inns… Food… Prayers… Silence… Connection… Peace… Surrender.

Each summer I schedule something to nourish my soul. I have done 8-day silent retreats at a Jesuit Retreat Center in Pennsylvania and attended a conference at the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. This past summer I resolved to do a pilgrimage, sponsored by Coracle and led by Scott Buresh.

St. Cuthbert’s Way begins and ends with two spectacular abbeys—the first in Melrose, Scotland, and the second in Lindisfarne, England (the Holy Island). The 100 kilometers (62 miles) in between these two abbeys embraces some of the loveliest countryside in southern Scotland and northern England.

Nothing has nourished my soul like walking St. Cuthbert’s Way. It was likely a combination of three things:

  1. The beauty of the Scottish and English countryside.
  2. The historic legacy of St. Cuthbert and Celtic spirituality.
  3. The pilgrims with whom I walked.

There were 12 of us—seven women and five men. I discovered that all of us had particular reasons for choosing to be part of this pilgrimage, but deepening our connection with God and with God’s creation was a consistent theme.

Each morning Scott asked us a focusing question for the day. One morning he asked, “What do you want Jesus to do for you?”  I spent that morning walking in silence, mulling over which of my many requests I would prioritize. I ultimately identified three.

As I continued walking that afternoon, I realized that Jesus was asking me for something. “Are you willing to trust me for the outcomes of your three requests, even if they differ from what you envision?” By the end of that day, I realized that what I most wanted from Jesus was assistance in the process of surrendering my will to God’s.

Are you seeking silence, connection, peace and surrender? Do a pilgrimage on St. Cuthbert’s Way. I anticipate that God will also meet you there. Regardless, you will be stunned by God’s creation.