March 31, 2010



The Way of St. James and the path of the road

D. Agustín González Enciso.
Chair of the Way of St. James. University of Navarra

In this lecture it is not so much a question of knowing why there is a path, but why we walk, that is to say, why do we walk? We discover that walking is part of our way of being and for this very reason, walking has a deep anthropological meaning. 

sample From this perspective, the renewed tendency to go on pilgrimage today is especially important, because on a long walk, many pilgrims say, we find ourselves again. And that is already a very important reason to explain why we walk. It is true that today pilgrimage has many motivations; nevertheless, in this lecture prevails, in substance and formal content, the idea of the supernatural motive of walking, of the demanding and mortified pilgrimage for basically religious reasons, although other realities are not excluded. 

The lecture is developed in six points: walking is a metaphor for life; walking is a symbol of cultures; walking implies accepting a culture with certain values; it brings us closer to the relationship between the way, truth and faith, and finally, it speaks of three basic virtues in the act of walking: detachment, effort and freedom. 

In its origin and in its genuine sense, the Camino de Santiago is a religious pilgrimage. But in addition, the walker, even if he did not seek that meaning, continually encounters the religious landmarks that justify the road. Therefore, we are before a metaphor of life that is religious, as Jorge Manrique said: "This life is the road to another that is dwelling, without regret, it is better to have good sense to walk this workshop, without wandering". It is a matter, therefore, of walking and of doing so without wandering, of achieving a successful life, in the phrase of A. Llano, because the Way, like life, has an end that must be achieved.

Pilgrimage exists in all cultures, including Christian culture, linked to the pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Rome and Jerusalem, three destinations already well known around the 13th century. European culture has been forged as a Christian culture, open also to the universal, as L. Suarez recalls, and the fact of walking is strongly linked to it. As Steiner said, Europe was made by walking. But it is precisely Christian values that have forged a cultural sphere, the European one, unparalleled in universal history. What the pilgrims see is precisely that compendium of customs, art, religion, political thought, science, literature... that appears on the Camino and that summarizes the essence of what is European, which is also Christian.

On the other hand, to understand oneself through culture requires having faith in something that serves us as reference letter. The Way is a symbol of faith, because in order to walk one must believe in something that is at the end, at goal. For this reason, Christian faith, like hope, are virtues that are intimately linked to the fact of walking, as long as one walks to seek, not to flee, nor for a simple adventure or pastime. But there are many pilgrims who seek very different objectives, but always with a religious sense. The determination of the wayfarer, who has faith in what he does and in its consequences, who hopes to arrive and receive the fruits for which he has struggled, is interwoven with many virtues. Three of them are fundamental. First, detachment, because it is necessary to divest oneself even of oneself in order to walk, to seek the transformation that the path implies - to go from one place to another. Then, effort, because without it, one gets nowhere, and finally, freedom, because only with freedom can one walk towards where the Spirit impels us. At the end, the walker gets his purpose and arrives at the goal final , the Portico of Glory, metaphor of the eternal Glory.

The confession took place at the Arizkunenea Cultural Center in Elizondo.

The confession took place at the Arizkunenea Cultural Center in Elizondo.