Ruah pilgrimage 2011
RUAH 2011 was a pilgrimage-based programme that brought together 38 participants from different countries: 23 Presentation Sisters, 8 Christian Brothers, and 7 Friends of Nano and Edmund. We began the two-week programme in Dublin on 12 June, travelled to Glendalough to be part of a cosmological Eucharist, and then divided into five sub-groups which scattered to different pre-opted locations to spend four days with a local resource person who helped us delve into the history, significance, spirit and sanctity of that particular area. We converged again at the Nano Nagle Centre in Ballygriffin for three days with the Sisters, who promote the heritage of Nano Nagle and focus their lifestyle around cosmology and sustainable living. We then made our way to Cork for the final stage of the pilgrimage, following the Nano trail through the city and visiting the Brothers’ famous North Monastery. We dispersed with new eyes and wider hearts on the morning of 25 June. We had learned to accept our cosmic reality, unlearned our notions of the Sacred, accompanied each other, and been accompanied by Nano and Edmund. But the end of the pilgrimage was just the beginning. (Drawn from an account by Christian Brother Ryan Fernandes, Challakere India.) Below, a fellow participant shares his learnings…
A Pilgrim Heart – that is what we were invited to embrace and imbibe during the course of our sojourn in Ireland for the Ruah programme. I will attempt to recapture and share what I learnt: what I found new and different, what challenged me, and what I revisited on this pilgrimage.
The experience invited me to enter the Heart of the Cosmos, while being open to the Cosmos in my own Heart. The boundaries of my imagination were stretched by concepts and ideas about life, the universe, God, humankind, and the limitlessness of our potential to grow, grow, grow… I felt a call to make the Ruah pilgrim-journey from fear to love, and in the process enter the mystery of being and become all who/that/what/where I am.
As a Brother involved in the formation of aspirants to the Christian Brothers’ way of life, there was also this fearful dare to “overlook a lot, let go a lot, forgive a lot, in order to allow the breath of God - God’s flow and energy – to blow through me and those around me”. This is only possible in and through me if I can re-image and re-imagine my God.
The Ruah experience has also been an opportunity to get in touch with the deepest and greatest fears that shrink, stifle, and inhibit my growth – as well as to become aware of the fear I may be causing in the other through an overbearing, dominating presence.
It was also an opportunity to look beyond the nature of self and others and see the face beyond the face - to keep revisiting “the unconscious room of the heart” as Daniel O’Leary put it to us.
Becoming aware of the Paschal Mystery that is always underway in the unfolding Story of the Universe, and experiencing the Eucharist as a part of all God’s creation, brought home quite forcefully the fact that all of creation is impregnated with the presence of God, and therefore all created things become part of the community I engage with around the eucharistic table.
The entire experience was a blessing. This took the form of our initial host and guide in Dublin, and continued in the persons of the Ruah Team, so welcoming and warm, and the wonderful resource people who shared their faith and wisdom with us and helped us reflect on our experiences. The blessing culminated in the gift of the people we encountered – other participants who walked the pilgrim path with us, as well as brothers and sisters who shared their lives and stories with us, broke bread and broke the Word with us, and opened their hearts and homes to us.
Ruah has come for me as an infusion of the Spirit of God, a re-awakening to God’s all-pervasive presence, and an energising invitation to grow in awareness and consciousness of this presence. As poet Arun Raghuwanshi puts the call to God Realization…
HE IS EVERY WHERE
HE is day
HE is night
HE is black
HE is white!
HE is in thing (matter and energy)
HE is in nothing (consciousness)
HE is every thing (existence)
HE is here,
HE is there,
HE is every where
In the Now and Here
Christian Brother Joe Johnson
published September 2011