Our contradictions (The Pilgrimage)


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At a certain point during my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, we came to a flat, monotonous field of wheat stretching all the way to the horizon. The only thing breaking the dull landscape was a medieval column with a cross on top, marking the pilgrims’ way. Petrus – my guide – put down his backpack and knelt down.

Have pity on those who pity themselves, and think life has been unjust to them – for they will never manage to engage in the Good Fight.
But have more pity on those who are cruel to themselves, and can only see evil in their own acts, and who consider themselves guilty for the injustices of the world. For they know not Your law which says: even the strands of hair on your head have been counted.

Have pity on those who command and those who serve many hours of work, and sacrifice themselves in exchange for a Sunday, when everything is closed and there is nowhere to go.
But have more pity on those who sanctify their work and go beyond the limits of their own madness, and end up in debt or nailed to the cross by their own brothers. For they know not Your law which says: be as prudent as a serpent and as simple as the pigeons.

Have pity on those who eat, drink and are merry, but are unhappy and lonely in their abundance.
But have more pity on those who fast, censure, forbid and feel saintly, and who preach Your name in public places. For they know not Your law which says: if I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.

Have pity on those who fear Death and do not know the many kingdoms they have crossed and the many deaths they have died, and are unhappy because they think that everything will come to an end one day.
But have more pity on those who have known their many deaths and think they are immortal, for they know not Your law which says: he who is not born again may not see the kingdom of God.

Have pity on those who cannot see anyone but themselves, and are shut in their limousines, locked in their air conditioned penthouse offices, and suffer in silence the solitude of power.
But have pity on those who go without everything, and are charitable, and seek to overcome evil with love only, for they know not Your law which says: he who has no sword, may he sell his cloak and buy one.

Have pity on us, Lord. For we often think we are dressed when we are naked, we think we commit a crime and in reality save someone. Do not forget, in Your mercy, that we unsheathe the sword with the hand of an angel and the hand of a demon gripping the same hilt. For we are in the world, we continue in the world and need You. We always need Your law which says: when I sent you without bag, pouch or sandals, you lacked nothing.

Petrus stopped praying. The silence continued. He was gazing at the wheat field around us.

(in THE PILGRIMAGE )