Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Way - Why I Want to See the Movie


I am a collector of prayer books. One of my favorite is Celtic Daily Prayer. It was given to me at Christmas in 2002 by my wife Janet. One of the stories in the book comes from the writing of Jennifer Lash in her book On Pilgrimage. She writes about her experiences going on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.


Moved by the words of Ms. Lash, I ordered the book. Evidently she was a novelist, not well known, and the book was not a best-seller. For me it became my favorite book. In my book Spiritual Journaling the last chapter, Magical Journeys, describes On Pilgrimage, and about Jennifer Lash after she discovered she had breast cancer. After chemotheraphy and radiation, she decided she would leave her husband and six children, and she would make a three month pilgrimage through France and Spain visiting Holy Places.

The shape of her journey led from Lisieux, in France, to Sandiego de Compostelo, in Spain, the place evangelized by the Apostle James and a frequent pilgrimage site to this day. She stayed in monasteries, prayed in ancient chapels, lighted candles for strangers, and fought the continual tiredness that came from her ongoing battle with cancer.


To those of us who fought the battle of cancer (for me it was prostate cancer) there is an uncertain journey that follows you. Fear can easily overtake one. Every step seems difficult. Some days it seems like the last step has been taken. Reading her story reminded me of my own story, but her strength in following an ancient path, under extremely difficult conditions, were an inspiration to me.

When she died her children wrote, "She was buried in a simple home-made coffin, under a table cloth embroidered with a map of Ireland." And I would add,"she left behind a journal of her final journey."

Her story is again repeated in the movie The Way, another story of one's pilgrimage along the Road to Sandiego de Compostelo. I have been looking forward to the movie for months. I have read several reviews. Many reviews are about Martin Sheen's own spiritual journeys through a life of heavy drinking and poor choices.

The last movie I got this excited about was "Of God's and Men," the story of several monks in Algeria who died because of their faith. I once had my picture made with the Abbot General who preached these monks funerals.


This story is about you and me. What about our journeys, especially the spiritual journeys? Have you ever gone on a journey searching for something?And really what you were searching for was to find yourself? So that is why I am excited about the movie. Surely, I will write some of the quotes from the movie, but I will also relive some of my own journeys; to Jerusalem, Athens, Patmos, battling sicknesses, disorders of many kinds, moments of desertion or lostness. We have all been there. Maybe we are still there, right.


1. What does the movie tell you about your own life?

2. Have you ever been on a spiritual journey? When, where, why? How did you get there?

3. Who went on the journey with you? Who did you find along the way?

4.Where is your journey today leading? What is God telling you?


After the 7 p.m. showing on Friday night Janet and I will wait in the lobby. Anyone who wants to go with us and discuss the movie can join us then. I think that would be an interesting discussion.

Am PRAYING FOR US ALL on the way. Also, the question of the night, what were some of the children's names Jennifer Lash left behind?

See you at the movies!


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