Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hiking the Camino

Fr. Dave Pivonka's Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles With Jesus was a bit of a mental break for me. After the intellectual rigors of Authentic Sexuality, I wanted something lighter to review. Furthermore, pilgrimages have a soft place in my rocky heart: Todd and I were given the pilgrimage to Jasna Gora (in Poland) as a wedding present and hiked there from Krakow in August 2003.

A good, old-fashioned hike--usually 15 to 20 miles per day--is often good medicine for the soul. Even if it does a number on the flesh. (Or, perhaps, because it does number on the flesh!)

This little book tells the story of a much longer hike in little episodes. Fr. Pivonka leads us along his journey through northern Spain, using the physical trials and joys as introductions to the interior transformation he experienced. His self-effacing humor and evident joy in his vocation (I think he says, "I love being a priest," nearly once per page) gain the reader's trust. He also avoids all pretention or superiority. The spiritual reflections are very simple, but always profound. He references Scripture and John Paul II, thus bringing a broader perspective to his own thoughts.

If you want to learn more about a contemporary experience of a medieval pilgrimage, this is a good pick. If you are planning or dreaming of a pilgrimage yourself, it is inspirational.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Hiking the Camino.


earthie said...

I would loooove to do that one day-- actually, have tentative plans to do it the same year as WYD in Spain!

Pivonka also wrote a book called Spiritual Freedom, which despite its utter simplicity (or because of it) is profoundly helpful.

e2 said...

That book is also available at the Catholic Company, so maybe I'll look at that next! I hope you make it to Compostela. I plan on doing it between the third and fourth pregnancies, should God be so gracious! ;)