Walk in a Relaxed – and Light – Manner: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Source: flickr.com

I completed the 800 km Camino de Santiago de Compostela during a sabbatical in the fall of 2009.[1] Some of the best spiritual preparation came from reading Joyce Rupp’s Walk in a Relaxed Manner – Life Lessons from the Camino. Since then, I have loved that notion of walking – in a physically relaxed manner and with a spiritually light attitude.

I place her title up there with a phrase from another book, this time from a novel – Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. That relaxed and light manner has to do with many elements: the weight of the backpack, the consolations and desolations in my heart, the anxieties and hopes, the way I slept the night before, and so on.

Jesus is offering advice that is pretty similar in today’s Gospel reading. “Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals …” He also suggests that the seventy go with an attitude of peace and freedom.

Bring peace and be prepared to accept hospitality. But he also warns them to be prepared for no welcome. In that case, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you.”

Life is challenging and complicated. There are very few of us who have it easy, whether it is external matters or interior movements in our own lives.

The issues could be our own health or financial situation, mental health concerns, addictions, the situation of those close to us in family, the heavy and challenging situation of our world or Church, the ecological devastation we see in so many areas of the globe, or anxieties deeply imbedded in us since childhood.

It can feel like a life-giving pilgrimage on healthy days and like a tough trek on stressful days.

There are many advantages to walking in relaxation, lightness and peace through our days and upon the earth. But that is not easy. How do we get to that place of peace and freedom? Jesus often invites us to peace and trust. He invites us to come apart and rest a while. But an invitation is not usually enough.

Spiritual practices can help give us that peace. What works for you? Is it a favourite spiritual book? A quiet and contemplative walk? Is it taking time apart? Does that peace come from a heart-to-heart conversation with a dear friend? Trust whatever means help during times of difficulty.

Let me just offer a few of the life lessons offered by Joyce Rupp.

  • Embrace beauty
  • Remember: Life is a great adventure
  • Live in the now
  • Be attentive to your body
  • Acknowledge the kindness of strangers
  • Don’t let difficulties deter you
  • Look for unannounced angels
  • Savour solitude
  • Have a sense of humour
  • Let yourself be humbled by weakness
  • Travel lightly
  • Enter into the hum of humanity


[1] I wrote an article about the pilgrimage. I recounted the experience, but more significantly, I used it to offer a few insights about Ignatian spirituality, in particular the interior movements of consolation and desolation. The Camino and the Cochlear Implant – Being Guided into the Way of Peace, in The Way, 50/2, April 2011.

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 01:33h, 07 July Reply

    Thank you Philip!

  • Lorella D'Cruz
    Posted at 02:07h, 07 July Reply

    Thank you for yet another insightful piece, Fr Shano. My daughter and son-in-law have recently returned to Melbourne, Australia, after a two-month walk on the Camino trail. I believe they gained much from their experience.

  • John Montague
    Posted at 10:07h, 07 July Reply

    “Unannounced angels” have lightened my cross. Thank you. Philip. I appreciate your presence in my life.

  • Catherine von Zuben
    Posted at 19:52h, 07 July Reply

    Thank you Philip. Quiet, peaceful walks at Manresa add to the beauty of a retreat there. I also appreciate your presence in the lives of all connected with Manresa.

  • Gail Hamilton
    Posted at 08:47h, 08 July Reply

    I’d love to read the article you wrote in 2011 regarding your walk on the Camino and Ignatius spirituality. How do I find it?

  • Philip Shano
    Posted at 11:34h, 14 July Reply

    Hello Gail. I hope that you are enjoying the summer. The article was in The Way, 50/2, April 2011. I know that The Way has everything archives online. I’m not sure how easy it is to use. I’ll send you a copy if you cannot find it.

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