July 17, 2008

Appendix 3: Inspiration

One thing I decided to do before departure was to carry a small collection of varied writings that might inspire me along the way. Some of these were songs, (religious and secular), scripture quotes that inspired me, or other writing that made me think.

I typed up these selections so they fitted in a little plastic pouch, and most days I would select two or three to carry in the pocket of my shorts, from where I could easily grab them during the day. (One day early on, I 'lost' several of my pieces of paper when I failed to realise that torrential rain= wet shorts = disintegrated paper in pockets!)

Somehow it seemed that certain songs/quotes seemed to suit the inner or outer journey at certain times. And as time progressed, each piece of writing would seem to have served its purpose, and I would discard it. Thus, my little plastic pouch of writings got lighter and lighter as I walked, as did all of my luggage, as befits a Camino...

Strangely enough, "Climb every mountain" from Sound of Music, was just what I needed to sing as I climbed the route over the Pyrenees. Its rhythm fitted with the slow climbing movement of my feet perfectly! Then after those two days, I didn't need it again....

I am going to list (or link to) a few of the writings I carried, but not all. My collection was very individual and personal, and if you decide you want to carry some writings with you, I expect different things would inspire you.

1) Patient Trust by
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin SJ

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We would like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new.

And yet, it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability -

and that it may take a very long time.


Brothers and sisters:

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,

heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,

bearing with one another and forgiving one another,

if one has a grievance against another;

as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.

And over all these put on love,

that is, the bond of perfection.

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,

the peace into which you were also called in one body.

And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,

as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,

singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

with gratitude in your hearts to God.

And whatever you do, in word or in deed,

do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Col 3: 12-17


Ps 43: 3-4

Send out your light and your truth,
Let these be my guide,
to lead me to your holy mountain
and to the place where you live.
Then I shall go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy,
I shall rejoice.


We do not draw people to Christ

by loudly discrediting what they believe,

by telling them how wrong they are

and how right we are,

but by showing them a light that is so lovely

that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.

Madeleine L'Engle


"It is beautiful to see God’s grace working in people. The most beautiful thing about it is to see how the desires of the soul, inspired by God, so fit in and harmonize with grace that holy things seem natural to the soul, seem to be part of its very self. That is what God wants to create in us - that marvelous spontaneity in which His life becomes perfectly ours and our life His, and it seems inborn in us to act as His children, and to have His light shining out of our eyes.” [From: The Sign of Jonas, 1953] Thomas Merton


-Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . . hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . . joy

O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . . as to console
To be understood . . . as to understand,
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . . that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
It is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life.


The closing prayer in 'Deus Caritas Est',
Benedict xvi

"Holy Mary, Mother of God,
you have given the world its true light,
Jesus, your Son - the Son of God.
You abandoned yourself completely
to God's call
and thus became a wellspring
of the goodness which flows forth from him.
Show us Jesus. Lead us to him.
Teach us to know and love him,
so that we too can become
capable of true love
and be fountains of living water
in the midst of a thirsting world."


Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

Pope John Paul 11.

9: Songs by Fr Chris Skinner SM from New Zealand.

I carried the words from quite a few songs by Fr Chris as I walked. There were songs of hope, and especially some with environmental themes that suited my hours walking in the landscape.

a) One key song was "We say thanks." About day 8 when I had tender feet, I realised that I could spend all my time thinking about my sore feet, or I could forget about how sore they were, and remember all the things I had to be thankful for. It really was a 'key' that helped me walk all the way to Santiago.

" If the only prayer that we ever said

If the only prayer we said was thanks

That would be enough that would be enough

If the only prayer we said was thanks."

b) Another important song that helped me appreciate the beauty all around me was "Be Mindful":

" Be mindful of the sound of your feet upon the road,

Be mindful of the warmth of the sun,

Be mindful of the smell of the earth after the rain,

Keep in mind the wonder of it all."

with the beautiful chorus:

"There’s a dance our bodies long to dance,

There’s a song our voices long to sing,

There’s a dream our planet’s dreaming of,

Sing and dance her dream upon the earth."

c) And a key song for everyone with mountains to climb- You raise me up:

“When I am down and oh my soul’s so weary

When troubles come and my heart burdened be

Then I am still and wait here in the silence

Until you come and sit a while with me.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

I am strong when I am on your shoulders

You raise me up to more than I can be.”

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