Rev. Patrick J. Ryan, S.J. (Fordham University)
On Pilgrimage: Journeys with Judah Halevi, St. Ignatius Loyola, and Malcolm X
Lecture by Rev. Patrick J. Ryan, S. J., Laurence J. McGinley, professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University.
Why have Jews, Christians, and Muslim gone on pilgrimage? For many today the motive may be touristic, but the most ancient pilgrimages in all three traditions directed minds and hearts to seek out what T. S. Eliot called “a place where prayer has been valid” (“Little Gidding”). The three great monotheistic faith traditions stemming from the Middle East have focused their pilgrimage traditions not only on Mount Zion and Golgotha in Jerusalem and Mecca and its surroundings in Arabia. They have also sought out encounters with the Transcendent in many other holy places for penance, prayer and healing: the tombs of the patriarchs and matriarchs of Israel; the Marian shrines of Lourdes, Knock and Fatima; the shrines of martyrs and saints like Thomas Becket at Canterbury, ‘Ali al-Rida, the eighth Imam of the Shi‘a at Mashhad in Iran, and Santiago de Compostela at the conclusion of the Camino. Pilgrimage sites give the world a sacred geography, an image of the whole journey that is human life open to the mystery of God. Jews, Christians and Muslims can learn a great deal about the world and the lives of faith we share when we come to recognize how our paths of pilgrimage cross.
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