Guest Post: Julian Lord – An Imperfect Pilgrim…

Am I a good pilgrim ? No more than I could possibly describe myself as “a good man”.

The Pilgrimage to Santiago is no kind of magical nor mythical odyssey that will automatically provide any sort of moral nor spiritual advancement in life.

The Camino is a TOUGH path, made of several weeks or months of sweat-filled toil, pain, disappointment, hardship, and constant struggle against doubt, fatigue, and oneself.

It is a Crucible where the Self is tested and revealed, and where you can make or lose a friend in an instant ; but it’s also a pathway where your innermost needs and the depths of your toughness will emerge, no matter the consequences.

NONE of my pilgrimages so far have ever been in comfortable nor easy conditions, and this year will be no exception — not a single pilgrimage of mine has been anything other than a sacrifice ; and this will be, and already has been, the most difficult pilgrimage I will ever have attempted.

There’s still a part of me, as I think there is in all pilgrims, “true” or otherwise, that would like to slip into the easier world of the “tourigrino” experience, into the straightforward 5-6 weeks of a more leisurely social Camino, with no real worries about whatever — except that the one time that I actually attempted it, all of my money was stolen anyway, so I was back at the usual ground zero pilgrim life that seems to be my lot … Ultreia (Carry On) e Sus Eia (and away with you) …

One makes jokes and criticisms about one’s fellow pilgrims along the Way, even simply as a means to relieve one’s own tension, but at the end of the day we are ALL of us imperfect pilgrims, and there’s not a “true pilgrim” among us.

Every rich man and pauper, every “purist” and every bus-pilgrim, every devout Catholic and every self-seeking tourist-pilgrim, we are all of us just as much “true pilgrims” as fakes, because none of us has any better right to the Way than any other, and because we are ALL of us headed towards Santiago.

The hands down BEST Camino advice that has ever been given me was in a little booklet distributed back in the 90s by the legendary mademoiselle Warcollier, Founder of the Paris Association and Archivist of the Camino (and Editor of the modern edition of the Codex Callixtinus) — “La seule chose importante c’est d’arriver à Saint-Jacques” — “The only important thing is to reach Santiago”.

No matter any of our own imperfections — that is the perfect advice for ANY pilgrim.

No matter how, no matter the hardships, no matter how others will look at you, criticise you, misunderstand you, think you’re mad, attempt to discourage you, hinder you, laugh at you, or simply disdain you — the only true pilgrim Way is to the end of the Way. Let nothing and nobody prevent that, and you’ll be as true a pilgrim as any other.

I am advancing my departure date from early August to the end of July — and to the four winds with the consequences !!!

That is my Camino.

Julian Lord…

dark church

16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Julian Lord – An Imperfect Pilgrim…

  1. Exceptional post Julian – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.
    I’m mid-way through my 16 day duty at Refugio Gaucelmo in Rabanal at the moment – every day we welcome pilgrims who have walked from near and far – and I can tell you – and you know this so well – every single person we see is a good pilgrim. The amount of sharing is incredible.
    On the Camino, there is no beginning … Just the end, which REALLY isn’t the end.
    My love to everyone – all’s well here at Rabanal.
    Take joy in every step.
    Jenny x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jenny,so nice to hear from you, I know the wifi situation in Rabanal is limited, I had more luck at Pilar’s. We miss your reports…lol. Hugs and Light and Love to you and all the pilgrims. Ingrid

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jenny, lovely to hear from you! You must be having a fascinating time. I’m sure this experience is giving you a while other perspective on the Camino, and pilgrims.

      Let me know of you want to do a guest post. Would love to get your thoughts on it all.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 weeks most likely when I’ll be leaving — going to try and be in Lourdes for the Feast of Saint James.

    And attend the Traditional Latin Mass there …

    We are VERY lucky in our parish and our diocese, in that our New Mass is very reverent and faithful, Latinate, and turned exclusively towards God — so, unlike several of my good online friends, I haven’t given up on it — but I DO very much love the TLM a

    Liked by 1 person

  3. grrrrr, again !!!

    … but I DO very much love the TLM as well, and for me the Mass is the Mass is the Mass.

    It is very sad that several generations of Catholics have been held hostage by the liturgical and catechetic disaster of the last 100 years …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, Julian. I am forwarding this to my Camino partner who will be walking with me in September. Much to think about, thank you so much!

    Buen Camino – Ultreia!!



  5. “La seule chose importante c’est d’arriver à Saint-Jacques” — “The only important thing is to reach Santiago”.

    Might as well take the bus, then. (Nah! Just kidding!)


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