Code du Pèlerin

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5ac0de96ed61e644482234a3d6e39e621. The Christian life is a journey in the following of Christ who says to us: ” Come, follow me!”

It is a question ” of following in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus-Christ “, as St. Francis does not cease saying it. Any Christian life is a great pilgrimage with Christ, and for us it happens on the roads of the Franciscan tradition.

Francis even summarizes it in a short ” code of the pilgrim ” (2 C 59).

2. A walk supposes obviously a departure ” Quit! … Sell what you have!”

The very first requirement of the pilgrim is then necessarily poverty: not to settle down, not to appropriate. No cumbersome luggage, material or spiritual provisions…

3. This poverty puts one at the mercy of the people

It is necessary to dare to ask, wait from the others, to accept, to receive: ” eat what is offered to you “… The pilgrim is a ” beggar from the others.”

4. This dependence ultimately promotes an attitude of gratitude. All is received, not like due but like a free gift which gives rise mainly to astonishment, amazement, gratitude and a profound joy.

5. The pilgrim is striving towards a goal “he is home-sick for the Father’s House.” His road is revitalized by hope, he goes towards a goal, the Living Presence that fills up this Kingdom, and with Jesus he goes to the Father.

6. His journey is marked out with relays but which are only relays, because there is no final arrival here below. The successive goals, which are proposed to him, are stages, springboards towards the final goal, ” the new heavens and the new earth”(2P 3, 13). All the good things discovered on the road (creation, people…) are as announcements, preparations, promises, deposits of the fullness, which await him on arrival. Francis liked the earth as the way to the Kingdom. (2C 165)

7. This walk is not done as a solitary. On the road the Pilgrim joins other walkers He will add to the rows of the Pilgrim People. His road is interdependent, fraternal. On the road, one helps the other, shares his resources, they go forward together, one initiates himself to the joy of being together, which will fill up the Kingdom. Each meeting is the beginning of an arrival.

8. There are also all those whom one meets on the road How not to share with them the Good News. The peace of the Kingdom on which he has fixed his eyes, reflects already on the face of the pilgrim. The pilgrim becomes a messenger: he ” is sent ” towards men. The Gospel of the sending on the mission, in which Francis recognizes his vocation, traces the code of the pilgrim: hospitality, hope and peace.

9. We see that the life of Francis, his life of pilgrim proceeds according to a double movement:

• A movement by which one returns towards the centre to reload and remake his forces: return to the fraternity after the mission (the “chapters”), tentative in Rome to be inserted within the Church….

• And a movement by which one is sent towards the exterior, towards the others, farther and farther.

Double movement like that of breathing, the heart, the life.

10. There is a link between pilgrimage of life and the Eucharist

• Eucharist, bread of the way, daily bread for the ‘course to be made, like the daily manna in the desert.

• Eucharist anticipation of the feast of arrival, of the festal meal, which will bring together all the pilgrims to the table of the Father.

Eucharist collects in it all the pilgrimage: it is at the same time announcement and beginning of realization, way and term, ” already ” and ” not yet “.

11. The road which Christ invites us to take after his example is the road towards Jerusalem, the Road of Easter, that which crosses through suffering to go from death to life. As says Francis: ” to pass with him from death to life,” to pass from this world to the Father.

12. At the time of passing from this world to the Father, Jesus invents the vocation of the pilgrim: the gesture of the washing of the feet, to tear oneself off from his tranquillity in order to pass on to the ways of service.

Francis had received this gesture of Jesus like the very expression of his vocation and that of his brothers, the brothers minor: ” The one who wishes to be the greatest, let him be the smallest, the minor “.

From a text by Fr.Ignace Etienne Motte